The Book on Writing

Paula LaRocque Author

The Book on Writing is the definitive guide to writing well, her advice is sound, and writers will find clear and useful advice here. Paula has a way of teaching artful storytelling in a simple, basic, and accurate way. She demonstrates clarity, simplicity, and dignity with every word.

Writing Mechanics

One dozen guidelines to good writing.

Learn to keep sentences short, varied, and focused on one main idea. Paula teaches avoiding pretensions, gobbledygook, and euphemisms. She shows how to change long and difficult words to short and simple phrases that have meaning and accurate power. Avoiding jargon, fads, and cliches is also a point that she clarifies.

Always use the right word, clarity in thought and simplicity in structure. Avoid the long dependent phrase beginning, and prefer active verbs and active nouns to adverbs and adjectives. Cut the wordiness, get to the meaning of what you are saying, avoid vague qualifiers and prune prepositions. Get right to the point and stay there.

Story Telling Devices

A story requires a number of things. Paula explains which ones to pay attention to. Archetype, or the model to follow, character, plot. Analysis of a story and how the parts work together.

Don’t say everything: how to show rather than say, and how to create suspense and fulfillment by withholding information for the right time to reveal it. Involve the readers and make them do some work to draw conclusions and see beneath the covers.

Take a picture of the scene and display a character in a point of time. Use metaphor and symbol to give deeper meaning to the story and situation. Let the sound echo the sense, write fast, but edit slowly. Watch out for the speed-bumps on the way, and review the logic.

The Writers Handbook

The last section of the book is the writers handbook. It includes a short quiz, some myths that need to be dispelled, and a style guide and summary that you will return to again and again.

This really is the best writing guide that you will find.

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