- File Size: 2845 KB
- Print Length: 194 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: AIA Publishing (May 4, 2015)
- Publication Date: May 4, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00X5WGPWW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #969,014 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Elements of Active Prose: Writing Tips to Make Your Prose Shine Kindle Edition
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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review, and now I’m waiting for it to come out in paperback so that I can buy a desk copy to keep near my computer as I write. Newland, an accomplished author and professional editor, peels away the mystery of prose writing. She begins by stating emphatically that this is NOT a book of rules; it’s a compendium of guidelines based upon her years as a writer and editor. But, and here I’ll paraphrase her, these are guidelines that have stood the test of time, and while they can be ignored, when it’s appropriate to do so, there are risks attendant upon doing so.
She takes the reader through the writing process in easily digestible chunks, covering such topics as the difference between active voice and active prose, how to write effective dialogue and descriptions, and how to choose the most effective point of view for your story.
This, though, is more than just a book about how to write more effectively. She also includes sections on how to effectively self-edit, and how to review the work of others; distinguishing, for instance, the difference between copy editing and line editing—something that I, as a frequent book reviewer, have often struggled with.
Assuming you’re already proficient in grammar and spelling, and you are familiar with the topic about which you wish to write, this is the most important reference book you could have in your writer’s library.
She recommends Browne and King’s Self-editing for Fiction Writers. Having read and reviewed their book, I suggest reading her book first. Browne’s book has some good information, but it also offers too many absolutes that can cause authors to cripple their stories. Tahlia’s book provides tests and suggestions to help authors avoid extreme rule-following, while still creating a well-written reader’s experience.
Take a look at the Table of Contents of this manual. Each one of those chapters contains concise, clear guidance based on the author’s own experience. Having read several books and much blog content that address some of the problem areas listed, I know the value of having a single book that points out all these troubled areas.
This book is not the only book you’ll need to edit your manuscript, but it definitely tells you what you need to know to fix it. If the discussion or examples don’t provide enough details, you can do further research on a specific area of concern because you’ll know exactly what to research.
As both an editor and author, I recommend this book to other editors and to authors who need a handy, succinct guideline for improving their manuscripts.
Most useful, in my opinion, were the sections on how Rules are ridiculous (let's call them Guidelines) and words to avoid (my new one is 'there' thanks to this book).
Most recent customer reviews
It’s been a long time since a craft guide has left such a prose-altering impression on me.Read more