The Sense of Style: the thinking person’s guide to writing in the 21st century
Steven Pinker

November 5, 2015

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If you don’t know Steven Pinker – the linguistics expert, remarkable as much for his bountiful barnet as his brains – get his books now. Not only does he understand the intricacies of how language works, he appreciates how people use it day-to-day. So, rather than harping on about when it’s correct say ‘medium’ instead of ‘media’, he asks whether the words you say actually connect with your audience.

Some of the ideas in this modern style guide are already well-known to professional writers: zombie nouns, the ‘curse of knowledge’. But there’s some stuff on the trickier elements of grammar that is absolutely fascinating for all word nerds out there. Brilliant for copywriters and lay language-lovers alike.

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Becoming a Writer
Dorothea Brande

November 5, 2015

dorothea-brand

My job is writing for businesses. But I dabble in fiction, especially short stories, whenever I get the chance. I think the different disciplines can really nurture each other.

That’s one of the reasons I like Becoming a Writer. Published in 1934, it’s something of a classic for budding fiction-writers. There’s tons of practical stuff in there – how to take advice, how to cast a critical eye on your own work – and exercises too. But there’s no mollycoddling: for those who can’t keep up with the exercises, Dorothea says: ‘give up writing. Your resistance is actually greater

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How to write everything
David Quantick

November 5, 2015

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Let’s face it, lots of books about writing are actually a bit boring. They’re full of very sensible tips and techniques, all very clearly expressed: but they don’t exactly have you dashing for your desk, pencil in hand.

Which is why this handbook from David Quantick is so great. Not only does he give aspiring writers on how to write plays, poetry, sitcoms, speeches… But he does it in a way that’s as hilarious as it is helpful. As Quiantick says, the book covers ‘everything. Not anything, anyone can do that, even an academic or someone who thinks ‘beryllium’ is a sentence. This book is written by me, and I have written everything. I actually have.’

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