I’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason I never new about The Elements of Style. I love self help books for writing, but nothing that is too complicated. I don’t want to be stuck down in how one writer thinks I should write. That being said, the bit I have read of Stephen King’s On Writing, has been quite helpful. So helpful in fact that I will combine this post with another one discussing my actual writing style.
I got into the writing bug back when I was 14 and decided that I could write like Emilie Loring. At the time I was going through lessons in school — I was home schooled — and I was in a sense, relearning grammar. While I learned all the basic and necessary lessons in grammar in primary school, I did not take well to those classes. I hated language and grammar. Probably because I felt I was terrible in it.
Then along came Jensen’s Grammar. I’m not sure if it was their method of teaching or the fact that it started out so basic you could not fail, but suddenly grammar made sense. I was finally able to write things that I had struggled on for years. Suddenly those parts of speech became clear. I now had a method for conveying what I wanted to say without looking like a complete idiot. I can honestly say those workbooks changed my life. I know my mother despaired of ever getting me to write correctly.
Now, I still have my issues. I think I write more passively than I should, but I can actually write. I may speak more like a European, and write like that, with my sentences backwards by English standards, but I am better than I was before.
In recent years I’ve wanted a go-to book that I can look up writing and grammar information that I’ve forgotten. And I have forgotten a fair amount. I’m always stuck with where to put my commas and various parts of grammar. My mother has her Harbrace College Handbook, but unfortunately it’s packed away in god knows what box. I could really use that right about now.
That was until I was reading Barnes and Noble’s blog about writing books. One they mentioned was The Elements of Style. I lucked out and a copy was at my library. Again, I don’t know why I never knew about this book because thinking back I’ve seen it at the library, just never picked it up. I’m wishing I would have because this book is amazing.
The Elements of Style by by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White,” ” is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight “elementary rules of usage”, ten “elementary principles of composition”, “a few matters of form”, a list of forty-nine “words and expressions commonly misused”, and a list of fifty-seven “words often misspelled.” ” (I ‘stole’ that description from Wikipedia)
I am only to chapter two and I can see now why I need this book. I’m forever having questions as to what I need to be doing with my writing, and I hate to look it up online. It’s not that it isn’t easier to look it up, but I’d much rather have my information in book format. So, this is clearly the book for my needs. And as luck would have it, I was browsing Bookmooch.com last night and found a copy available from someone within California. Obviously I requested it for my own.
I’m sure a lot of other people have writing and grammar guides that they would recommend, and I would love to hear about them. The writing craft isn’t easy. Hence why there are so many bad books out there. The least we can do it try to make our writing better.
So dear reader…. What writing guides do you use? What would you recommend I look into? And have you used The Elements of Style for your own works?
Now, the next post coming up will be my actual writing style. Who do I write like. Apparently I don’t write as feminine as I thought I did. Look for the coming post in the next week.
On a sub note, and just a bit of trivia for all you readers, but this whole post was written with a Scottish accent in my head. Apparently trying to write a blog post while listening to Disney/ Pixar’s Brave can do that to you.
- The Elements of Style (natashaballif.wordpress.com)
- How to Improve Your Writing (prlandscape.wordpress.com)
- 11 Composition Principles (editingaddict.com)
- The English Language On Word Order Depends (nhwn.wordpress.com)
- 12 writing mistakes nearly everyone makes (thecentogroup.me)
- On Grammar, Writing and First Impressions (conversations.marketing-partners.com)