on 27 October 2001
I have read too many books about writing; most of them have been a waste of time. I would, however, recommend Dorothea Brande's "Becoming a Writer" for the encouragement you need to get your story out of your head and onto the page, and this one, "The Keys to Great Writing" for the skills you need to make sure that when you do, your words don't let you down. Not just for fiction writers, this book tackles the nitty gritty of writing - words, sentences and paragraphs - and shows how you can manipulate those elements to bring your writing to life. It teaches you what you thought couldn't be taught -elusive qualities such as rhythm, music, style. I was dubious when I first read the jacket copy as I'm writing a novel and the author, Stephen Wilbers, seems to have the most experience in journalism, but halfway through chapter one I realised that he knew what he was talking about. You can apply the advice in this book straight away and see the results straight away. I borrowed it off my Dad and unfortunately had to give it back as soon as I'd read it, but it's on my Christmas list. If your writing always seems "flat" on the page, read this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
on 24 August 2012
I have enjoyed reading this book, it is written in a logical and entertaining way. Has it been useful? Yes indeed; simple and practical explanation and examples of techniques, along with some pointers I had not considered before.
This is well worth reading, I think anyone will gain some insight and get solid encouragement for speech writing.
on 22 April 2001
As a consultant engineer, I found this book an excellent guide for preparing reports, although the principles apply equally to fiction, memos, advertising copy, theses, - you name it. The author describes with clarity numerous techniques for adding coherence and life to writing.
Wilber also gives tips to overcome the dreaded writer's block. For example, for that first draft, forget about perfectionism and just put your ideas on paper. Leave the revision until later. How about coherence? Wilber shows that by beginning a sentence with an idea introduced earlier, the reader is able to follow with greater ease the flow and development of thoughts.
In summary, this is an excellent practical reference that should be on everyone's desk.