The Little Red Writing Book: 20 Powerful Principles of Structure, Style and Readability Paperback – 6 Jul 2007
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"If there were ever a time when this reviewer recalled with gratitude the diligence and thoroughness of her writing teachers, it was while reviewing this book. The mechanics of expository writing, which many of us take for granted, are presented in an organized, attractive package that will serve the basic writing needs of students and professionals alike. Royal provides not only numerous examples of the principles of written English but exercises as well, with answers for those wishing to master the basics. He includes tips on gender-neutral composition and on structuring written documents. Borders and flourishes enliven the text and make the book as charming as its title. This handy reference, similar to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, could only have been improved by the inclusion of a glossary and a general index. Recommended for high school, college, and writing collections." --Ann Schade, The Library Journal of America, Publishers Weekly's On-Line Review
"Writing guides and handbooks fall into roughly two categories: Some are long, comprehensive, and, except for the extremely punctilious writer, unfathomable; a few are direct, useful, and ideal for serious writers who would rather write than spend hours finding the rules for semicolons. In the latter category falls Brandon Royal's brilliant The Little Red Writing Book. The articulate exposition of his twenty principles of writing and thirty rules of grammar fit neatly into 159 short, accessible pages, pages undoubtedly well thumbed by thousands of grateful writers for years. Built carefully and simply around the categories of structure, style, readability and grammar, Mr. Royal's little book will satisfy both the sit-down-and-read-all-about-it reader and the frustrated-fly-by-and-check-something-quickly writer. I recommend this wonder to all my writing students. Perhaps one day writing committees will wisely follow suit and make this a primary text for all writing courses at their schools." --Ray Turner, B.A., MA (Communications), writing instructor and former Educational Administrator, Corpus Christi TX, USA
Mastering the ins and outs of writing involves more than just learning the rules of grammar. "The Little Red Writing Book" provides readers with principles to ensure their writing is readable, concise, convincing and grammatically correct. This clever guide is perfect for classrooms, English as a Second Language (ESL) learners and business people seeking to strengthen their writing skills. With "The Little Red Writing Book", writers will never need to fear the big, bad world of writing again.See all Product description
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The 'Little red writing book', despite the unlikely title, offers good tuition from a good tutor. It addresses many of those structural issues that plague writers before quickly recapping all the necessary grammar, looking over those basic things we learned but now occasionally forget. The book presents a manageable set of principles, which are clearly explained before being tested through exercises, and then after this mini course, the book is presented in summarised form.
Another book which is very useful and 'minimalistic' is It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences, which, although it doesn't contain exercises, has some very interesting material. Also Sin and Syntax has a different approach, examining the effect values of various grammatical constructions. Reading these books will help, but practice is the only way to find your unique 'writer's voice'. All you writers - good luck on your journey!
As with other books like this, the grammatical information presented in this book is more of a recap for those who know than a course for beginners - I for one would find concepts such as nominalisation hard to grasp if this were my first encounter with the idea. If you've read quite a lot of this sort of material already, don't expect any principles that will transform your writing, but enjoy a fun course.
In terms of content, I didn't come away from the book feeling as though I had learned a lot. Maybe the advice is more suited to new writers who haven't attended writing courses or haven't already read books on how to improve writing. That said, it's a useful refresher of concepts that you may already be familiar with just need reminding of. I'll certainly revisit this book in a few months just to go through the guidelines and remind myself of them.