Buy Used
£1.78
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book is in great condition, eligible for super saver delivery and prime, shipped by Amazon.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Way to Write Paperback – 26 Feb 1981

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, 26 Feb 1981
£64.59 £0.01

There is a newer edition of this item:


Are You an Author Looking to Publish Your Book?
It's Free, Fast, and Easy to Publish to Kindle, Print and Audio with Amazon Independent Publishing Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Elm Tree Books (26 Feb. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241105579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241105573
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 0.8 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,048,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In 1969 the poet John Fairfax and poet and novelist John Moat dreamt up the Arvon Foundation, a venture born out of their frustration that nowhere in Britain were there writing schools where young authors could enrol to learn their craft. The Way to Write is a distillation of their 30 years of involvement with Arvon, which now runs country-wide courses.

Fairfax and Moat hold forthright views on the exact use of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs--new vocabulary to anyone who passed through the English and Welsh secondary education systems in the 70s and 80s. They quite rightly claim that as these are the building blocks of sentences, held together by the mortar of punctuation, your carefully constructed literary edifice will come crashing down unless you have learned how to manipulate them to best effect. Their recipe for success? More concrete nouns, fewer adjectives.

The book's strength lies in the way Fairfax and Moat work through "before" and "after" examples culled from their students' and other poets' writing. They highlight exactly what they mean when they exhort you to choose precise nouns or edit out extraneous adjectives--you can read the difference for yourself.

Fairfax and Moat are very keen on the idea of writer as sorcerer, somebody who weaves spells with words, and this extended metaphor can wear thin over the course of 10 chapters. However, what advice they do give is so sensible that you can forgive them their occasional mystical flights of fancy. Now, go weave your own spell... --Amanda Cameron --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
4
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
1
See all 5 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is excellent for someone just starting out in writing. Particularly if you are looking to write poetry, or to make your prose as beautiful as possible.
The basic habits I picked up from this book have stayed with me for the last ten years. They have helped me to improve my writing to the point where it was publishable. "The Way to Write" is easy to read and the ideas in it are fascinating. I would unreservedly recommend it to any new poet as the first book to buy. I also use its methods in most of the prose I write.
One of the best things it taught me was the economical use of language. How to get the most power from the fewest words. And how sometimes fewer words can mean more power. Simple examples of all the suggested techniques are given throughout.
Highly recommended - a real investment in your talent.
Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I first bought this years ago and have read many other books on creative writing since but this remains one of the best. The authors don't just tell but show how to write poetry/prose that grabs the imagination and touches the spirit. Yet they are not at all patronising. Everytime I go back to this book I am inspired to write. Perhaps I should read it every night (rather than every six monthsor so) and then with a bit of application I might become the success they help me to believe I could be!
Comment 5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very informative, very helpful book on writing technique if you are particularly interested in the language rather than any guidance on plot, characterisation etc - this is not a book about novel writing, it is a book about writing fine English.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book to kick start any creative writing endevour.
Any book that gets you to put words onto paper must be good; when we live in an age of multi chanel TV and computer games.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
The subtitle of this book ("A complete guide to the basic skills ...") is a gross overstatement. The text is mostly about being more expressive when writing poetry and similarly literary prose. Indeed, the authors say as much and there are several other "The Way to Write ..." titles covering other writing categories. Still, this book is quite good on such points as the weakening effect of adjectives on nouns, and of adverbs on verbs ("The mouse scampered hurriedly..."). But it is silent, or sketchy, or out-dated on most other topics of interest to writers; the authors admit in the 1992 reprint that its 1981 origin make it useless on writing tools such as word processing and computers.
On grammar -- an extremely important basic skill for most writing, even if not for some poetry -- the book is very weak. The authors devote several chapters to parts of speech (nouns, verbs and adjectives etc.) but refer to "the grammarian" as an archetypal pedant obsessed with dry classification; and when they attempt to expound briefly on grammar they are not only too sketchy to be any help, but also in places just plain wrong. For instance, in discussing verbs they lump together "the active, the passive, and the subjunctive" quite incorrectly as "moods"; the active and passive are grammatical voices: the subjunctive is a mood, its normal usage counterpart being the indicative, and this error will only confuse readers not confident on the point.
There are many other flaws in the text. In particular, much of the punctuation is extremely poor. Consider this sentence: "The writer then measures not by the rule book but by his ear." The absence of commas leads the reader to construe the sentence initially as though it were part of a sequence, as in "The writer first does this ... The writer then measures ...
Read more ›
Comment 6 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Look for similar items by category


Feedback