Thursday, January 24, 2008

Three Books on Writing

I have read 3 books on writing this past week; "Reading Like a Writer" by Francine Prose, "Writing With Style" by John R. Trimble, and "Writing To Inspire" by William Gentz, Lee Roddy and other leading inspirational writers.
"Reading Like a Writer" by Francine Prose
The author of this book gave guidance in the important elements in writing, such as; certain words that are chosen, having clarity and rhythm in sentences, paragraphs should build toward some kind of climax, who is the voice in the story and who is listening, writing should be without judgment, and to define characters by their actions. The author gave many examples from the writings of Austen, Dickens, Eliot, Chekhov, and other writers. "We think in generalities," Alfred North Whitehead. "But we live in detail." Francine Prose encourages the writer to write something memorable, pay attention to how and what we remember. The details are what stick with us. I enjoyed reading this book because it gave a well rounded and easy to read and understand format for writing.
"Writing with Style, Conversations of the Art of Writing" by John R. Trimble
This book is a condensed and to the point education on writing, whether the writing is for fiction, non-fiction, or a critical analysis. The first chapter is on getting started, such as picking a subject, and writing a rough draft, the book then moves on to more details. This is an excellent book to have as a reference for anyone that is attempting to write. The author gives a list of "7 nevers" for a writer. 1. Never begin a sentence with and or but. 2. Never use contractions. 3. Never refer to reader as you. 4. Never use I as first pronoun. 5. Never end a sentence with a preposition. 6. Never split an infinitive. 7. Never write a paragraph containing a single sentence. The author John Trimble encourages the writer to use vigorous verbs, to keep the reader in a state of surprise, phrase thoughts clearly, speak to the point, anticipate responses, offer variety to keep interest.
"Writing to Inspire, A Guide to Writing and Publishing for the Expanding Religious Market" by William Gentz, Lee Roddy and other leading inspirational writers
Many point strategies are given in this book, such as; getting motivated to write, basic rules, special ingredients in writing, using story elements. Questions should be asked by the writer, has my writing done more than merely report facts or convey information? Have I given the reader help in facing life? The approach to writing should be more of a show, not a tell. The message should always be of hope. A writer of inspirational books should be aware of the different denominations that will be reading the book, it will be necessary to read and study the different denominations before writing the book.
I am still suffering from a cold, this is day 8, I'm glad I'm not to sick to read! My week next week will be different my grandson is having surgery, and I will be needed to help out with my other grandchild, I'm hoping I will be better soon!


Ms. Place said...

First, I hope you are feeling better and that your grandson comes through surgery swimmingly!

This post excited my interest, because we are always talking about writing at work. Sometimes, just for the fun of it, I read books about writing too. I absorb what I need and then ignore a few rules. Here is why. For me, voice is everything. If I must sacrifice some antiquated rules in order to communicate a thought or idea in a particular fashion, then I won't hesitate to do so.

I have writer friends who strictly follow the rules of writing and grammar, and I must say their work is perfectly suited for the academic environment or a think piece in the New York Times. Often I ask myself, where is their voice? Where are their own thoughts hiding? However, I am acutely aware that their efforts would most likely be ready for publication without much proofing or editing.

For my blog I strive to write in a less formal manner. And to achieve this casual tone I try to follow the rhythms and cadence of speech, so that when you come to visit my blog, you will come away feeling as if we'd chatted.

Use strong verbs. Strong nouns. And throw away superfluous adjectives. That's my philosophy. If it means tossing out a few rules to get the point across (including using a few sentence fragments or starting a sentence with an and or a but), then so be it.

MissDaisyAnne said...

Thank you so much for your comment. So often when I post blogs I really wonder who my audience is, only a few friends respond. I have enjoyed so much expressing myself through my 2 blogs. I am still coughing, will need to go to the doctor soon if I'm not better, we have our 4 year old granddaughter this week and she is coughing also, our grandson's surgery has been post poned for at least 2 weeks, he had double ear infections last week, wheezing today.