Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack, sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.
Here is the latest stack:
Everybody Writes (Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley is my favorite book in the stack and I am reading it cover to cover.
There are so many gems of wisdom on writing in this book, such as this one on sentence structure from page 25:
This is the first sentence of an introductory paragraph of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention style guide: “According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), released in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education, 30 million adults struggle with basic reading tasks.”
The primary idea in that sentence is that millions of people are not fully literate; everything else in it is secondary. The primary idea – the important words – should be placed at the beginning. So:
“Thirty million adults struggle with reading, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy….”
– Ann Hadley, Everybody Writes
What a difference between the original version of the sentence and the rewritten version of the same information by Ann Hadley! Ms. Hadley clearly demonstrates how improved and concise a sentence can be with all the fluff removed at the beginning.
This was a powerful example for me on thinking about sentence structure. I am fascinated by sentence structure and would like to spend more time in the future thoughtfully crafting sentences. Becoming a better writer is important to me. My goal is less cringe worthy moments when people read my blog (smile).
Ann Hadley references one of my other favorite books on writing, Stephen King’s On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft (2001). If you are an aspiring writer I highly recommend Stephen King’s book on writing.
Perhaps after I finish this book the quality of my blog posts will improve. What the heck, I might even begin doing a better job proofreading my posts before publishing them. Maybe. But, don’t get your hopes up…
“Writing is easy, all you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” – Mark Twain
Speaking of writing, on Wednesday evening my friend and I got to see writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon speak at our library’s Author! Author! series.
Now he is a true wordsmith and his sentences are beautifully and masterfully crafted. I recently finished his book Moonglow (2017) and it is one of my favorite memoir type of books (it is the story of his maternal grandfather as told to him by his grandfather as he was in his last stages of his battle with a terminal illness).
Mr. Chabon read a couple chapters from his book still in progress and those chapters were amazing. My friend and I sat in the front row and got to be “Literary Fan Girls”!
No worries, we were well-behaved and did not throw our lace bookmarks at the stage or anything like that…