I own an awful lot of books on the subject of writing, from books on how to get on your arse and just do it, already, to technical books, to advice from people who’ve been published, etc. They’re a great way to spend time avoiding the actual act of writing.
This book looks like a fairly good one to skim through. I’ve read passages, but haven’t sat down and read it all the way through. Chances are I won’t, as it belongs to a library and I like to highlight and mark up my books about writing.
One thing I especially liked, though, was what I read about revision. Here’s one passage I’d so like the authors of the books I review to “take to heart”:
Cliches: “His green eyes shined twin beams of light and there was magic in the air between them.” Cliches are like those little crosses you see at the sides of highways: They mark a place where a genuine feeling or insight has met its doom. When, reading over your draft, when your eyes come across a familiar-sounding moment or group of words, odds are you’ve come upon such a disaster area. And it needn’t be something as obvious as the above, or as that crown jewel of cliches, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” “Heart of stone” is a cliche; so is whatever moves “like greased lightning. …”
I was once chastised by an editor for my over-use of cliche. One thing I’ve found out, when an editor mentions something it’s usually not just a suggestion. It’s a COMMAND. Something to remember when you’re working for an editor.
Personally, I like minimalist writing. You’ll see that if I’ve ever written comments on your work. My style of editing is slash and burn. Likewise, on the few occasions I write fiction I use spare prose. Not so much on my blog, where I yap and yap. But for fiction it’s a different story.
I like to let the reader use his/her imagination. That’s the kind of reading I enjoy, and the kind of writing, too. I know it’s a matter of taste as to what you like reading, but I always mentally strip away adjectives when I read. If the sentence works without it there was no need for it. Bare bones. That’s what I like.
But, anyway, I wanted to just mention this book as a fairly useful, compact and sometimes interesting title. And off I go yapping, again.
Take it with a “grain of salt”….