I have been reading an old textbook of hubby’s recently. The book is Style: A Pragmatic Approach, Second Edition, by Peter Richardson (sold still on Amazon).
It’s a really interesting book, but the problem I have with it is that it likes making all of its lessons into mini-blitzes, meaning that you’ll read through it so fast you’ll easily forget one lesson to the next. Even at a college pace – 2-3 lessons or subsections per week – the lessons would probably feel really rushed, to a writer or non-writer.
Let’s face it: as writers, we are the best editors of our work, simply because we know what we intended to say. Even though my husband acts as editor for some of my bigger pieces, I actually go and talk it out with him, because it helps him translate my intent into the right words.
We should always be improving our skills as writers – and that more often means improving our skills with editing. I feel that there’s a lot I can from this textbook, but I’d like to pace out my lessons by just taking one small bit at a time, and applying that little bit of knowledge as I write over the week. Why not include you in the lessons?
So from here on out, on a weekly basis (as regular as I can be!), I will be introducing a little mini-lesson from this book, with my own spin on it (since it is geared mostly for college writers, not web writers). You’ll find the posts under the “Writing Style” category as well as “Writing Tips”. Subscribe to the blog if you want to make sure you keep up to date on all the posts!
Just to give a brief overview, Richardson’s preface talks about his conviction that while we often know, as writers, what practical style is in writing, we don’t always have the technical knowledge to know how to approach it in our own. The idea behind his approach is that since we already know how to conduct conversations in our daily lives, we can simply adapt that social and linguistic experience to writing.
His guides and advice are actually very simple and simplistic to understand and implement. Once you see an example or two, it tends to click and can be easily incorporated into your style and revisions. I hope the lessons will be useful!