Book Review: “The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well” by Paula LaRocque

This book is similar to William Zinsser’s “Writing Well” book. This one goes into more details on techniques. The rules can be complicated but the spirit of writing should be preserved to be clear and concise for the reader to experience the messages/stories/contents. The book was a little hard to read but the contents are rich.

The 12 guidelines:
1. Keep sentences short, and keep to one main idea per sentence.
2. Avoid pretensions, gobbledygook and euphemisms.
3. Change long and difficult words to short and simple words.
4. Be wary of jargon, fad, and cliche
5. Use the right word.
6. Avoid beginning with long dependent phrases.
7. Prefer active verbs and the active voice.
8. Cut wordiness.
9. Avoid vague qualifiers.
10. Prune prepositions.
11. Limit number and symbol.
12. Get right to the point. And stay there.

There are other tips on storytelling, description, use of metaphors, similes, analogy, allusion, foreshadowing like in “you won’t believe what happened next”), irony, and word play. The authors dived into the sound effect via the use of euphony, rhyme, internal rhyme, alliteration, resonance, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, cacophony, and etc.

On Pace, write fast and edit slow, avoid speedbumps (often arise from intrusions and obtrusion), logic and speed reading.

Dispelling myths: avoid split infinitives when it gets in the way of grace and precision and split away when it preserves grace and precision. Split verb phrase is not wrong, but is seldom unattractive. Use contractions where it makes sense. Use of ‘a’ and ‘an.’ “None” and “couple” can be singular or plural.