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Getting the Words Right [Kindle Edition]

Theodore Cheney
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Secret to Good Writing

When asked by the Paris Review what compelled him to rewrite the ending of A Farewell to Arms 39 times, Ernest Hemingway replied, "Getting the words right." His answer echoes what every successful writer knows: The secret to all good writing is revision.

For more than twenty years, Getting the Words Right has helped writers from all professions rewrite, revise, and refine their writing. In this new edition, author Theodore Cheney offers 39 targeted ways you can improve your writing, including how to:

  • create smooth transitions between paragraphs
  • correct the invisible faults of inconsistency, incoherence, and imbalance
  • overcome problems of shifting point of view and style
  • express your ideas clearly by trimming away weak or extra words
You'll strengthen existing pieces and every future work by applying the three simple principles—reduce, rearrange, and reword. Once the secrets of revision are yours, you'll be able to follow Hemingway's lead—and get the words right!

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A longtime University professor, Theodore Cheney is also the author of Writing Creative Nonfiction.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1120 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 2 edition (May 17, 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00506WXH2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,560 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have recommended this book for 10 years! November 21, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm the owner of a literary agency (About Words Agency), and when sending 99.95% of the submissions back to their authors for revision, I make sure to recommend Getting The Words Right, by Theodore Cheney in every single reply. I tell authors to read Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein, and then read Getting The Words Right. The two books work very well together. Cheney's method of working on the biggest problems first, like eliminating the first two or three chapters, and last of all, checking for smaller things such as spelling and punctuation, makes so much sense! It is the most efficient method of editing, and with increasingly busy lives, seems the most reasonable method as well. For a trademarked, innovative method of using your word processor to help you with the editing process, I also recommend Write in Style, by Bobbie Christmas. The competition for agents and publishers is fierce. If you want to get to the top of the pile, read and implement Getting The Words Right before you send in a query!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great advice, unreadable type August 3, 2007
Theodore Rees Cheney is a favorite guide for improving my writing. This book is another great example of his sound advice, relevant examples, and useful exercises. But the type size is so small and faint I had to use a magnifier to read it and the decorative flourishes on each page quickly become an annoying distraction. Shame on the publisher for diminishing such a good work. 5 stars for the content; zero stars for the page design.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content, poor book design September 14, 2008
By Elijah
Before I bought the book I saw a review that complained about the type size and page layout, and I thought that the reviewer was just nitpicking. BUT it turned out that the book's design DOES make it very hard to read. Other good choices that don't have this setback are Wm. Zinsser's On Writing Well and Sol Stein's Stein on Writing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read, a treasure to own July 4, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was slogging my way through a novel when I downloaded Getting the Words Right by Theodore A. Rees Cheney. You might think the novel would have held my interest against a book subtitled: 39 ways to improve your writing. But, you'd be wrong. Even though the novel was written by a prize winning author and had a compelling plot and characters, the style was awful. It was as though I was riding a bike uphill into a headwind. Cheney's book was like coasting downhill. His book not only showed me why I hated reading the novel, but gave me clear examples of how writing can be improved--and why it should be. Cheney's style shows as well as tells what's good and what's better. The book is so well written, the examples so relevant, that any reader would enjoy it. Those who aspire to write well will treasure it. To top it off, Cheney includes his recommended readings: more good books for better writing in any genre.
Several reviewers have criticized the type size of the printed version. I recommend the Kindle edition for those of us who prefer larger type. I make use of the underlining functions and note taking features of the kindle and along with its search capability; I anticipate using my Kindle edition as a trusted reference tool.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book on editing January 24, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every time I reread a section of this book I learn somthing new about editing my fiction.

The author convinced me early that he know what he was talking about and the conviction stayed throughout. It seems clear that he applied every single one of his editing maxims to the work itself. Practicing what he preaches.

Having first read copy from the library I immediately ordered my own and have re read most of it several times. I have no doubt that it will be read through many more times before I have absorbed all of the wisdom it contains
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Indespensible Book on Writing January 13, 2007
Every writer should have this at his side. I've read portions of it and then tried to apply Cheney's advice. What I most enjoy is that it really reads well, its not a tedious textbook. He really applies what he teaches, even an an academic work. I write inspirational nonfiction and I find myself incredibly inspired after I read a passage. Its an exceptional book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a good Kindle Book January 11, 2012
I got this book first time around on my Kindle. Right off the bat, I realized I had made a mistake by purcahsing the book on my Kindle. This is the kind of book that you want to read and read and reread, you want to read it with a highlighter and make notes in the margin. After the first few pages I realized taht I had to buy the real thing so went back to Amazon and ordered the DTB. Now it sits on my desk as a valuable tool for every manuscript that I write.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheney Shows Us How It's Done April 7, 2007
As a freelance writer, I have inhaled all of Professor Cheney's books. I have to say, though, that Getting The Words Right, challenged me the most. He talks about coherency, verbs, and the importance of pruning each word before releasing it to the world. He's a master!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Revision Book Well Worth Reading
I write. I revise. I wonder if there is a better method.

Theodore Cheney teaches clear, concise, and structured writing revision. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marion R. Spicher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good product as described.
Published 2 months ago by hkchan
5.0 out of 5 stars I have this book in both kindle and paperback format ...
I have this book in both kindle and paperback format,and I reference it often. I bought it while working on a science fiction manuscript,and immediately used the tools provided... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Greg from AR
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I was looking for
I'm not a writer, but I've been disappointed with my ability to express thoughts clearly with words. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. Cardillo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good Book
Published 7 months ago by Michael A. Finch
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars My son found and recommended this book to me
I am a want-a-be writer with no formal training. My son found and recommended this book to me. It has been a great help in so many areas and easy to understand. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Margaret Delp
2.0 out of 5 stars Stick with the first edition.
Very disappointed in this book. Bought the first edition years ago, liked it, and was expecting this to be an improvement. Not as good. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jeffery A. Shive
5.0 out of 5 stars If you write, you need this book.
If you have already spent seven years writing your magnum opus this book might be painful. However, I think it is one of the most important and valuable any writer can have in... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dragongunner3011
4.0 out of 5 stars Stumped by lost words! (I'm getting old and confused!)
I really haven't gotten into "Getting the Words Right" by Theodore Cheney {Kindle Edition] yet. I ordered it along with one to help me write better, "Grammatically Correct: The... Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by Pmp
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