Thursday, February 15, 2018
Editor's Notes #43: Best Books on Writing and Editing Part 3—More of Your Thoughts
In Editor's Notes #41, I told you about some of the books I read over the past year to further my knowledge of writing and editing. In Editor's Notes #42, I provided some recommendations I've received from others, and in today's post, I'm rounding out the list of books that author & editor friends have mentioned repeatedly as their go-tos. In fact, I had to cut books off the list because there were simply too many to cover effectively. If any of you are like I am, too many recommendations at once quickly become overwhelming, and I won't acquire any of them. And what's the use of recommending a bunch of things people are going to ignore, right?
So without further ado, here are three great recommendations. In fact, the last one can be heard on YouTube and will take less than twenty minutes of your time. You won't regret it.
The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker—Described as "more contemporary and comprehensive than The Elements of Style, Pinker's wit and clarity make this one a favorite I've seen recommended over and over. In his own words, "Good writing can flip the way the world is perceived." In my opinion, that makes for some of the best writing.
Stein On Writing by Sol Stein is highly recommended. Sol Stein is not only an author, but an editor too. He explains, "This is . . . a book of usable solutions—how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place." Most who have recommended this book mention that it has many unique ideas and really has a little bit of something for everyone, whether you're a new writer or have been doing it for years.
Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman is actually a book created from the transcript of a speech given by Gaiman as a commencement address at Philadelphia's University of the Arts. Many people point out that the message is full of the WOW factor: even if you're unsure of your path, when your future seems uncertain, take what you've been given and make it into something better than what you started with. That being said, even those who love this speech really don't have a lot of good to say about the book. According to many reviewers, the book is so poorly designed that it is difficult to read . . . not "good art" at all. If you want the full effect of what Gaiman had to say, look up the video on YouTube and listen to the man himself. It really is an incredible speech, full of wisdom, humility, and humor, that I found to be time well spent.
So that's what I have, folks! As always, let me know if you've read any of these, and what you thought. Happy reading!