Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write With Clarity, Emphasis, and Style
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Make Every Word Memorable!
To be remembered for your words, you need to write with skill and style. Whether you're crafting a novel, composing an e-mail, or creating a technical report, Mastering the Craft of Writing presents 52 practical techniques to improve your prose. Spend a week with each technique, or use this book as a go-to reference. Either way, you'll have the tools to enliven your writing and delight your readers.
- Write with economy: Eliminate wordiness, use strong verbs to drive your sentences, and don't trust modifiers.
- Write with emphasis: Use punctuation for effect, structure sentences and paragraphs for coherency and flow, and employ repetition to make your point.
- Write with distinction: Use your imagination to create the unexpected, add a light-hearted touch to your writing, and go beyond clarity to eloquence and grace.
With exercises, entertaining asides, and a wealth of useful information, Mastering the Craft of Writing is an invaluable resource for any writer. Once you master these techniques, you'll want to use them in everything you write.
for a comma, although sometimes it’s fairly obvious. When asked if he wanted to go, he shouted, “Hell, no!” When asked how soon she would be back in business after the tornado, the owner responded, “I … I just don’t know.” Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. I love to weigh, to settle, to gravitate toward that which most strongly and rightfully attracts me—not hang by the beam of the scale and try to weigh less. “Very good,” he said. “They’re yours.”
message, posting online, or writing an article for publication in a newspaper, and I’m more inclined to use the longer unit if I’m composing a paragraph for publication in a book. Variety in length is also a consideration. Compare, for example, the contrasting length of the two preceding sentences as well as the contrasting length of the two preceding paragraphs. A shorter unit following a longer unit has special emphasis, as I discussed in Week 31. Finally, consider the opening paragraphs in
same grammatical structure and the same number of syllables is called isocolon, as in “How to succeed at business: Have a vision, know your values, and work like crazy,” and in “The meal was succulent, but the guests were truculent.” Obviously, a little isocolon goes a long way. Winston Churchill used an isocolon for dramatic effect in his 1940 speech given in Manchester, England. Come then: let us to the task, to the battle, to the toil—each to our part, each to our station. Fill the armies,
2. Search for cliché on the Internet, and compile your own lists of clichés to be avoided and clichés to be used judiciously. 3. Write a short story incorporating all of the clichés on your “to be avoided” list. Give your story to a friend or colleague for feedback without revealing your method of composition. If your friend or colleague really likes your story and says nothing about your language, find another friend or colleague to share your writing with. A FURTHER THOUGHT: THE FIRST TIME IT
relaxed. We laughed together, and as we laughed we were reminded of our common humanity. Thank you, Samantha. We depend on your professionalism, but we appreciate your caring enough about people to have some fun with them. And we also appreciate the lesson on how humor can aid communication, a lesson that works as well in writing as in a crowded airplane. WEEK 50 KNOW YOUR OPTIONS FOR COMIC EFFECT Life is a joke. Unfortunately, the joke is on us. We’re blessed with the gift of life but cursed