Anyone Know This Book? The Elements Of Style

Discussion in 'Writing & Publishing Discussion' started by zx1ninja, May 7, 2017.

  1. zx1ninja

    zx1ninja Member

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    Anyone here familiar with William Strunk Jr and E.B. White book called The Elements of Style? Trying to learn how to fix the problems with my book and I happen to have one handy. Seems like a good place to start, but I thought I would ask and get a few opinions.

    I hate the written English language sometimes.
     
  2. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    Oh, S&W has been touted as the writer's handbook *Bible* for years. It is a good place to start. I bought it years ago for this very reason. However...not to throw cold water on this...I don't like it. Many times, I've looked up something but I couldn't find it. So I bought a couple other books that were much more useful. You may find that it fits your needs just fine. :)
     
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  3. suspensewriter

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    #3 suspensewriter, May 7, 2017
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
    By way of agreement with you, Lynn, I am hunting down my copy and will poetically send it to the seventh circle of hell, addressing it to Dante himself. My wife much prefers the Comma Sutra by Laurie Roazakis, PhD because it is both fun and immensely interesting. She also likes Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale.

    Myself, I reawakening my interest in the art of words and am open to new approaches, so could you list the books you like Lynn, so I can try them?

    And thanks for posting this, zx1ninja. Interesting topic that is too often pushed aside.
     
  4. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    Sure. Just know I bought these years ago and have not looked for any others. One is A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker, which may appear small in size but it is packed with info. The other is Simon & Schuster's Handbook for Writers by Lynn Quitman Troyka, which is much thicker than the other one. I can always find what I need in these two. :)
     
  5. zx1ninja

    zx1ninja Member

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    No problem. :D
     
  6. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    I bought the book on the advice of many writers, and it was ok, I guess, but I only yesterday noticed there's some push-back against it. (I agree with Lynn there are better books out there, and I agree with the suggestions already listed in this thread.)
    http://boingboing.net/2017/05/08/the-elements-of-style-50-ye.html
     
  7. zx1ninja

    zx1ninja Member

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    So what would recommend?
     
  8. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    There are a bunch of really solid links here:
    https://www.writingclasses.com/toolbox/tips-masters/elmore-leonard-10-rules-for-good-writing


    Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules for Good Writing
    [​IMG]
    Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns, then turned his talents to crime fiction. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, he's written about two dozen novels, most of them bestsellers, such as Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch. Unlike most genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously by the literary crowd.

    What's Leonard's secret to being both popular and respectable? Perhaps you'll find some clues in his 10 tricks for good writing:

    1. Never open a book with weather.
    2. Avoid prologues.
    3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
    4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said"…he admonished gravely.
    5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
    6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
    7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
    8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
    9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
    10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
    My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

    If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

    Excerpted from the New York Times article, “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle."
     
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  9. Nancy Sonneman

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    Here are two books:

    The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing by Leonard G. Goss & Carolyn Stanford Goss
    0-8054-2787-2 Broadman & Holman Publishers

    The Writer's Little Helper by James V. Smith
    Writer's Digest Books, an imprint of F & W Publications.

    Hope this helps.:)
     
  10. Cecilia Marie

    Cecilia Marie Senior Member

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    Stephen King's book, On Writing, is excellent. He gives great examples and explanations of the dos and don'ts of good writing. I use that and K.M Weiland's, Structuring Your Novel, the Three Act Structure.

    Both are available on Amazon.
     
  11. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    Seconded, for both works.
     
  12. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    But those are on novel writing, yes? Not for grammar?
     
  13. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    Mostly, yes. On Writing covers a wide spectrum for a slim volume but is not devoted to grammar. I very much enjoyed Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000OIZSVY/
     
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  14. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    LOL And that one is on grammar? Who'd athunk it! Thanks, Phy! :)
     
  15. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    From its description: ...it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled.

    LOL {waving} Me! Me! :p :D :rolleyes:
     
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  16. zx1ninja

    zx1ninja Member

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    Seeing references to the Chicago Manuel of style. How important is it?
     
  17. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    Think 'The Bible' and you're close. (aka CMOS, Chicago Manual of Style)
     
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  18. lynnmosher

    lynnmosher Super Moderator
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    LOL Yup! Phy's right. Don't know why none of us haven't suggested it before. It's a great one to have. :)
     
  19. Nicholas Reicher

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    Omit Needless words. Omit Needless words. Omit... everything in the book was written three times!
     
  20. zx1ninja

    zx1ninja Member

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    I know it's not the actual refrence book, but I got what I could. Chicago Manual of Style Elements Study guide. I'm hoping it helps me to understand.
     
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