- Taschenbuch: 270 Seiten
- Verlag: Theoklesia, Llc (27. April 2013)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0985820306
- ISBN-13: 978-0985820305
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 1,4 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 407.784 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (and Everything You Build from Them) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 27. April 2013
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It doesn't matter if you're writing a term paper, a magazine article, a technical paper, a play, a webpage, a novel, or even a letter to a dear friend, Word Up! contains hundreds of suggestions to empower you as a writer. It is well researched, you can instantly look up particular subjects in its extensive index, and it has a wonderful glossary. Actually, I Xeroxed the glossary and pinned it to the wall above my computer.
If you want to write powerfully, this book is a must-have for your reference library.
I'll say upfront that this review is probably biased. That's because I read Marcia Riefer Johnson's 'Word Up!' on a smartphone while zipping around on the trains of Tokyo. Part of an ongoing experiment into my preferred digital and analogue reading habits.
It must have been good because I consumed almost every page using a device that's much easier and safer to hold on busy trains than a tablet. And now, a few weeks later, I'm typing up this post on that very same smartphone while flicking through the ebook on a laptop. (By the way, Marcia also covers the perils and pitfalls of writing for readers with small screens.)
That said, Marcia has written a very entertaining and educational resource for any of us who wince when reading their own work... but then want to know how to improve it. In other words, as its byline reminds her readers, this book's all about "How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything you build from Them)."
The book's three-part structure consists of a series of short discourses about words, moves on to sentences and paragraphs, and concludes with advice on the business of writing. Meaning that these delightful essays can be read in any order (although I went through them sequentially.)
My favorite section was titled `Decisions, Decisions', in which Marcia applies many of the book's lessons to one of her writings. Behind-the-scenes peeks into the working mind of an experienced writer are invaluable and I've read this section twice and will no doubt refer to it again.
Will `Word Up!' make better business writers out of marketers, executives and engineers? Perhaps - especially if they continue to critique their own work after the initial draft's been soaking in the subconscious for a day or two. At the very least, readers will have a better idea of what to avoid and what to do about it.
For professional wordsmiths I think this book is an invaluable reminder of the magic and power that words, sentences and paragraphs can be imbued with. Reading `Word Up!' will help you choose more of them with care. Highly recommended.
- Ernest Hemingway
No, I don't really believe that quote, but I'll get back to that point in a minute. (Marcia Riefer Johnston began every chapter with a pithy quote, so I figured I'd join the fun.)
"Word Up!" is a fantastic book on writing. I highly recommend it for all English speakers, because we all write in varying forms. I work 9-5 as a writer, and then I write these dumb Amazon reviews in my spare time for fun. I think I have a pretty good idea of my skills and my weaknesses; I know that tend to bloviate and that my writing is sometimes flabby. When I write for business, I stick to the point. When I write for fun, I change into a comfortable voice like changing into a pair of sweats. But even my professional writing has plenty of room for improvement.
As a quick parenthetical note, writing a review about a book on writing is harder than I thought. One of the first things I thought about when I picked up this book is that it takes a brave writer to write about writing. By proclaiming herself as an expert, the author exposes herself to critique from every writer who thinks she or he could do better. I think it's a gutsy move and I respect her for writing this book.
Time to get to the point. Write Up! is chock full of excellent writing advice from cover to cover. The chapters vary in length, which I find refreshing. When she is done with a topic, she stops writing, ends the chapter, and moves onto the next topic. Brilliant! Since many of her topics are based on previously written blog entries, the topics move right along from one to the next, without any awkward attempts at segues or interstitials. Brilliant again. If only our day to day conversation could flow so naturally.
I'm impressed with the fact that she challenged some of my preconceived notions about English grammar, and quite convincingly. When I was younger, I studied a foreign language (German) for nine years. To successfully study a foreign language you can't help but learn more about your own mother tongue. I don't consider myself an English grammar expert, but as a writer I've given grammar more thought than the average person. I have strong opinions about a lot of these topics and I didn't expect to be swayed by this book. Instead, something interesting happened. I was convinced to look at my opinions from a different viewpoint and see both sides. I wasn't so much convinced that my previous opinions were "wrong", but that there are more ways than one to look at these issues. This was surprising to me, because parts of speech have always been rigid to me. That's my take on it anyway. (See what I did there. "Take" is a verb, but I used it as a noun.) I'm not fond of that kind of change to our language, but regardless of my opinion, the change is inevitable and I have to prepare myself to understand the changes and work with them.
The other surprise from reading this book is that now I'm a complete mess and I really don't want to write anymore.
Maybe that's hyperbole, but writing has always been natural and intuitive to me. After giving it so much thought, I'm too tentative now. Rather than reading this book in a couple of days, I recommend reading a few topics and then taking some time to absorb them. Then read a few more and let those new topics soak in. Otherwise it's like getting a bunch of tips on your golf swing: too many tips (no matter how good they may be) will drive you nuts and cripple your game (which is why I only play golf casually once every few years--it's no fun for me if I take it too seriously).
So back to Hemingway. I can't not write. I'll lose my job. Plus I love writing. So how do I talk myself off this ledge?
Write drunk, at least metaphorically.
I can hear Hemingway telling me, "Relax and don't get up inside your head."
Don't take writing so doggone seriously, at least not during the creative phase. Relax and let your inner drunken voice take over the keyboard. Then once you're done composing, sober up and edit. Use this time to apply the rules and concepts presented in Write Up! It's easier and more effective to write this way, with your creative voice boldly ploughing ahead with no inhibitions. Then before you know it, the techniques you employ during editing will become more natural and you'll write well even when you're composing creatively ("drunk").
I was provided this book for review. Thank you, Marcia Riefer Johnston, for the opportunity to preview and review your book. Thank you for the wise writing advice. I wish you the greatest success.
How those could be two versions of the same idea? They are completely different propositions. The first one states the objective (hope, intention, expectation, aspiration) of education. The second converts that into a done deal: one gets education and therefore one gets an open mind in place of an empty one. (I hope it was really that easy and we had massive crowds of open minds all around us - including my own.) Is that second version an improvement or does it destroy the original meaning? Well, for the time being I've set the book aside but just to be safe I've awarded it 3 stars. After all so many readers couldn't be wrong. Could they?