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The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to…

The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well (utgåvan 2003)

av Paula LaRocque

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1533139,483 (3.56)1
Teaches the elements of good writing through the use of essential guidelines, literary techniques, and proper writing mechanics.
Titel:The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well
Författare:Paula LaRocque
Info:Marion Street Press, Inc. (2003), Paperback, 240 pages
Samlingar:Mom & Dad's Library
Taggar:201007 Karis NBrS


The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well av Paula LaRocque


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This is a wonderful book. It is an enjoyable book.

This is also a difficult review to write because I am trying to imbibe and implement many of the lessons that she has given us in this book!

Its also an enjoyable book because of Paula's own writing style, which is straight and direct. There are no hidden tunnels that you need to find your way through, to get to the message.

She lays out the principles and then gives examples of both, good and bad, writing. This makes the book easy to read and follow.

The book is written so well that I could not really put it down. It is like a thriller that you must keep reading and reading, where you savour the words till the end.

It is a remarkable book and one that will help anyone who wants to be a better writer. ( )
  RajivC | Apr 21, 2019 |
The first nineteen chapters of Paula LaRocque's "The Book on Writing" make a lot of sense. So do the last three. Of course, I don't agree with everything she says. Some of these differences are a matter of preference, others are not particularly important. For example, I don't have an issue with the use of they when referring to one person of unknown gender (known as singular they). She advises not to use it. Its correctness has been debated extensively and authorities are divided on the subject. Language is a living thing and there are always people for or against unsettled issues on various levels of intensity. It's one of those things that makes language so interesting.

I do have problems with issues tackled in chapters 20, 21, and 22. An overview:

Chapter 20 ('Write Fast, Edit Slow')
Paula LaRocque opens this chapter with an anecdote about the film version of 'Death in Venice', which she found boringly slow. I haven't seen the film, so I can't judge if this is true or not. In the next paragraph she concludes 'We finally cannot forgive slow. That's because fast is interesting and slow is dull.' An extremely blunt and over-generalizing statement that leaves no room for subtleties. Of course, avid amateurs of senseless, action-packed Hollywood blockbusters, then I can understand that you agree with the author. I don't. I think a reader deserves more respect than degrading them to a hurried, speed-reading entity, devoid of intelligence. Understandably, many people earning their living in the publishing business don't see it that way. The quicker a reader finishes a book, the quicker they will buy a new one. It's just a sign of our society where people are urged in a myriad of sneaky ways to consume, consume, and consume―the faster, the better. We read for many reasons, one of them being to learn. What's wrong with re-reading a slow, well-written but difficult passage to better understand its fine-drawn distinctions? What's wrong with a pages-long description of a landscape, a room, a face (again, provided it is well-written)? In short, what's wrong with slow writing and slow reading? Paradoxically, fast reading can be seen as laziness, as hovercrafting over the subject, not taking the time to look under the surface. Sadly, superficiality is another sign of our society.

Chapter 21 ('Speedbumps')
In this chapter the author writes about things that slow down the reader, one of them being illogic and poor word choice. The sentence she takes as an example is this: "Now, for the first time in many centuries, technology may have finally freed us." Then she comments: "For the first time in many centuries? How much technology existed many centuries ago? Technology is a modern development―there wasn't another time, ever." When I read those words I was dumbfounded. What Paula LaRocque is actually saying is that all civilizations before ours reached their apex without technology. Take the time to let this sink in: think of Chinese astronomy for example, or Inca architecture, or Mesopotamian irrigation. The list is extensive. My point is: technology is as old as Homo sapiens sapiens is, and maybe even older. Claiming that technology is a recent development is not only wrong, it also blatantly ignores the wisdom and ingenuity of our ancestors.

Chapter 22 ('Logic and speedy reading')
Here, Paula LaRocque tackles non sequiturs in if/then sentences. According to her the statement "if you were at last year's film festival, then you know how important the indie film is to the industry" leads to the illogical inference "if you weren't at last year's film festival, then you don't know how important the indie film is to the industry." First remark: if it's illogical as the author acknowledges, why does she infer it in the first place? Second remark: you cannot say something sensible about the people that weren't at the film festival, because nothing is said about them in the original sentence.
Some simple logic: if the premise 'if A, then B' is true, then you cannot say 'if not A, then not B' with certainty. What you can say with certainty is this: 'If not B, then not A.'
An example: Premise: if that's an oak, then it's a tree.
Illogical inference: if that's not an oak, then it's not a tree. Why? Because you don't know what it is instead of what it isn't. It could be a car (not a tree), it could be a beech (a tree), or anything else, as long as it's not an oak.
Logical inference: if that's not a tree, then it's not an oak. Why? Because oaks are trees, and if it's not a tree, then it's certainly not an oak.

Conclusion: I gave this book three stars. I would have given it four stars if those three chapters would have been telling me things differently. But the issues I have with them are so obtrusive that the book doesn't deserve more in my opinion. ( )
  Akubra | Apr 14, 2013 |
Found this little gem in the bargain book section. Loved it. A great resource for writers at all stages. ( )
  mattlovell | May 23, 2006 |
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