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Writing With Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing (1975)

de John R. Trimble

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A storehouse of practical writing tips, written in a lively, conversational style.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The most useful book on writing that I have read. Specific, practical advice that the author himself follows. Highly recommended. ( )
  lipidity | Mar 22, 2020 |
This is one of the best books I've read about writing. Unfortunately, I disagree with Trimble's endorsement of foul language. He evidently thinks profanity can make writers more expressive and "raw," and quotes other famous writers who use it unapologetically.

But foul language is inappropriate in any context (Prov. 4:24, 17:20, 19:1; Matt. 5:21-22, 15:11, 16-20; Ecc. 5:6; Eph. 4:29, 31-32; Col. 3:8; James 3:5-12). Rather than making him more sophisticated, refined, or expressive, foul language makes the writer look vulgar, intemperate, and dumb. It reveals that he lacks either the sense, the prudence, or the restraint needed for refining his language. ( )
  cemontijo | Jan 18, 2016 |
I enjoyed reading Writing With Style but I'm at a loss to understand why, especially since many parts of it weren't particularly helpful to me.

Two-thirds of the book deals with college (or perhaps advanced high-school) students writing essays. None of the examples branch out into workplace memos or reports, or even fiction writing. Certainly, the tips given can absolutely be expanded to those sorts of writing projects, but this book doesn't mention that.

Much of the discussion relates to one of the "fundamental" rules he gives: "Tinker to get the words right." But this is often an impossibility, especially for beginners. It's similar to when I tried -- and failed -- to learn how to drive stick-shift. There's a particular "feeling" you get when you know exactly when to shift to another gear -- but you can only obtain that knowledge after much practice. Likewise, it's hard for beginning writers to know "that sounds good" at first, because they just don't have the feel for what should sound good.

The final third of the book offers rules of grammar and punctuation. The rules given are quite clear, but there are too few examples, and no skill sets to practice with. (Thanks, Trimble; Fowler would have made me say there are no skill sets with which to practice.)

Ultimately, this is a strange little book. It's clearly meant for college-level composition classes, yet it doesn't offer any essay questions or workbook-style practices. It's still a very good read for any type of writer because it does contain many valuable tips, and it's short enough that non-college-age readers won't mind the academic focus.

----------------------
LT Haiku:

"Books on writing tend
to be windy [and] boring":
This one is different! ( )
  legallypuzzled | Nov 17, 2013 |
Really good book. Of all the writing books I've read this is by far the most insightful. It isn't long or laborious either. ( )
  angus.macdonald | Jan 25, 2011 |
Writing with Style has been around for almost 35 years, but this Silver Anniversary edition remains relevant and fresh. Trimble teaches concise lessons, replete with examples, in thinking well, readability, punctuation, quoting, and so on. In the opening chapter, he establishes an appealing thesis: a novice writer, unaware of the social implications of what he's doing, writes unconsciously, "like a person who turns his chair away from the
listener[and] mumbles at length to the wall." A thoughtful writer, on the other hand, draws upon objectivity, empathy, and courtesy, because he knows that "good writing is good manners." ( )
  joshberg | Dec 5, 2009 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The book is exactly as Trimble described when I wrote to him and asked him to tell me how it came about: "a book with all the water squished out but with all the life left in."
 
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Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying.

JOHN UPDIKE
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one tuns, as it were instinctively, to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish, squirting out ink.

GEORGE ORWELL
The indispensable characteristic of a good writer is a style marked by lucidity.
HEMINGWAY
And how is clarity to be achieved? mainly by taking trouble; and by writing to serve people rather to impress them.
F. L. LUCAS
A writer's job is sticking his neck out.
SLOAN WILSON
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For Judy, with gratitude
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About a year ago a bright sophomore came by my office for his first writing conference of the term. (Introduction)
Books on writing tend to be windy, boring and impractical.
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A storehouse of practical writing tips, written in a lively, conversational style.

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