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100 Ways to Improve Your Writing (Mentor Series)

87 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0451627216
ISBN-10: 0451627210
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Product Details

  • Series: Mentor Series
  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (October 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451627210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451627216
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Because of his entertaining style, the late Gary Provost was one of the nations leading and most beloved writing instructors. A sought-after speaker, consultant, and celebrity biographer, Provost the writers writer authored thousands of articles and columns, and dozens of books covering most every genre. His highly acclaimed Writers Retreat Workshop, and video and audio courses remain available through writersretreatworkshop.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 126 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I use Gary Provost's 100 WAYS as the textbook in my Internet writing course (Personal Writing) for Lansing Community College. Students tell me, and I agree, that the organization of the book, its conversational tone, its concrete examples, and its unintimidating size and appearance are all features that make it a book they LOVE to read and will keep. It doesn't feel, look, or read like a textbook.
Gary Provost's honesty about his own dislike for starting a writing assignment is disarming and important for students to see. Provost also makes readers comfortable with him when he admits the enormous risk inherent in writing a book about writing: He knows there must be thousands of readers just waiting to find an error in his work and to take two points off with a sharp red pencil!
Finally, Provost's section on cliches is a delight. The entire section, which warns readers to avoid cliches, is written in a series of -- what else? -- cliches. Nice touch, and funnier than a crutch (oops)!
Gary Provost is an artist, as are all good writers. The artist in Provost succeeds delightfully in this little book. 100 WAYS is Provost's Picasso-like sketch of Don Quixote with the windmill waiting in the distance to be overcome.
Buy this book, use it, enjoy it, learn from it, teach with it, keep it.
Dale M. Herder, Ph.D. Professor of English and Vice President Emeritus Lansing Community College Lansing, Michigan
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By frankp93 VINE VOICE on July 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've kept my yellowed, dog-eared copy close at hand since I bought it in the eighties. Provost's writing is direct and uncluttered and he quotes authors such as Hemmingway, Bradbury and Fitzgerald as models of effectiveness. His own examples are often hilarious - which means they'll stay with you for years. The 100 Ways are grouped by category to avoid a feeling of randomness. Sure, the book is 20 years old and you won't find a lot of techie pop-culture references in it (though somehow I doubt the author, now sadly passed on, were he writing today, would have veered much from his chosen style.) Buy it, learn from it. Keep it close by.

(Provost's later book "Make Your Words Work" expands on many of the same ideas and includes exercises. Unfortunately, it's out of print and tough to find.)
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113 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on July 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not too many times, after you've left school do you sit back and go through your writing critically, in order to improve it. I believe this book to have a quality unlike many others: it takes you by the hand, and if you give it the necessary time, and USE the tips given, you'll soon realise you're writing in ways you never thought possible. It teaches you how to be critical of your own work, how to listen to what you write, how to look at things from a different perspective (put yourself in your reader's shoes, for example). It has so many ways in which it can help yourself, and yet, with Provost's humor, you never grow tired of it.
As of today, I'm past the middle of the book, and I have mixed feelings: on one side I don't want it to be over (I've just learned SO MUCH with it...) on the other I can't help to go through the rest of it to learn all that it has to offer (I guess I'll reread it later on, anyway!)
I have not read such a small but helpful book in a long time. It might easily translate into the best spent 5 bucks ever, if you're into writing.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What makes writing effective is its punch, its power, its ability to reach an invisible, long skinny finger into your soul and scratch awake a feeling. If you have to write--or speak--whether on your job, or you're tackling your "I should write a book," what should you do to make it good?

Do you have two minutes? Pick up _100 Ways_, read one directive a day, think about it for 60 seconds, and get on with your work, integrating the new principles as you can. In three months, you'll be a better writer. Or thumb through the book to find and practice its most magical tricks, like "A man said," vs. "A county official said," from the two pages on using "specific nouns."

If I could fantasize everyone I know--especially people trying to market their own businesses--into better communicators, I'd dream them into these five Provost guidelines: purpose, pyramids, transitions, wordiness and parallelism; then toss in for good measure: 12 ways to avoid making your readers hate you--all covered in less than 20 pages. The other 130 pages concisely address essentials from how to get started to where to put the commas.

_100 Ways_ is as "quick and dirty" as you can get for sharp and clean writing.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Tanja L. Walker on March 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gary Provost gives writers of all kinds lots of useful tips on how to improve writing of all kinds. I especially liked his use of amusing anecdotes and examples of how to and how NOT to write in certain ways. Most such tips, of course, are timeless, but the fact this book came out in the mid-1980s shows. His information on how to format a manuscript for submission assumes the use of a typewriter, not a computer with sophisticated word processing programs. Also, the book says nothing in its section on research on how to navigate the Internet to find needed information. Why bother the nice woman at your local library with questions about annual tomato yields in Florida when a few clicks of the mosue will give you the same information?
If Mr. Provost had issued an updated edition of this book, I'd have given it five stars. You might want to consider it, Mr. Provost. If you for whatever reason can't take on such a project, email me, and I'll be happy to help you out...
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