Unplanned, I started out with a New Year’s Resolution: Learn how to write: Part 1, where I stated why and listed writing blogs I’ve collected. I followed it up with Part 2, culling through the books I’ve bought and listing only those I believed would help in this quest. Part 3 shared online writing guidelines, Part 4 online dictionaries and the odd resource, Part 5 online writing tips (individual articles), Part 6 online writing courses (and one CD writing course).
And now comes the plan for my resolution to write – to work my way through the majority of the below resources before the end of 2007.
In the hopes that good writing rubs off …
Vocabula is loaded down with articles, quizzes, advice and more. Highly recommended, a membership has been on my wish list for several years. Vocabula updates monthly so it’s manageable. As I now have a membership I can also read over the back issues.
Coursework: Books and CD
I searched a long time to find a decent course that fit my lifestyle and temperament. I’ll miss having a flesh and blood teacher, but Diana Hacker’s Rules for Writers is well suited for self study. It’s well designed (a must for a designer), the lessons are short, and it has an online website loaded down with more lessons and resources.
I’ve played around with The Electronic Writing Course and although it is not as extensive as Rules for Writers, it’ll be needed when I’m ready for a change. StyleWriter has been great in teaching me to edit out passive voice. Do I think writing software will write my posts for me? Not at all. Garbage in = garbage out. It’s a help is all.
Rules for Writers (Spiral-bound) by Diana Hacker
Developmental Exercises to Accompany Rules For Writers by Diana Hacker and Wanda Van Goor
Writing Guides: Books
I’m of the mindset that one cannot have enough writing guides. The Collins Good Writing Guide was my first and an easy read (for the short parts I did read). The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing is similar. For the moment, the New Hart’s Rules will be less for reading from cover to cover, and more for grabbing when I have a specific question. The New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors stays right by my side as I’m always wondering when two words are combined, and when add a hyphen. Spunk & Bite is written in a hilarious tone and is a good balance for the strict (but valuable) Elements of Style.
Collins Good Writing Guide (Paperback) by Graham King
New Hart’s Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors (Hardcover) by R. M. Ritter (Adapter)
New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors: The essential A-Z guide to the written word by R. M. Ritter (Editor), Angus Stevenson (Editor), Lesley Brown (Editor)
Spunk & Bite by Author Plotnik
The Elements of Style (Paperback) by William I. Strunk
The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing by Thomas S. Kane
Writing Advice: Books
Some of the below I’ve read partially through, some all the way. All will be repeatedly gone over during the next year.
100 Ways to Improve Your Writing (Mentor S.) (Paperback) by Gary Provost
1000 Most Important Words (Mass Market Paperback) by Norman W. Schur
Line by Line: How to Improve Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook
The Careful Writer (Paperback) by Theodore M. Bernstein
Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method (Paperback) by Gerald M. Weinberg
Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English (Hardcover) by Patricia T. O’Conner
Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing (Hardcover) by Patricia O’Conner
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
101 Elegant Paragraphs ā€” A Vocabula 101 Series Handbook, written by Robert Hartwell Fiske, Editor and Publisher of The Vocabula Review.
Blogs: Grammar, writing and language
Away With Words
Nancy Friedman keeps a steady flow of information on words and usage. Although I’ve had Nancy on my bloglines for awhile, I didn’t meet her until recently. I featured Nancy’s Away With Words for this series as it’s a perfect fit. I know I’ll depend reading AWW daily.
Baltimore Sun: You Don’t Say: Language and Usage
John McIntyre has a similar stance, but it’s tied in with The Sun. John Looks at issues of language and writing, particularly grammar and usage, as they come up in The Sun’s reporting¯.
The more I read about grammar, the less I believe I know. With Grammar Girl I can download podcasts to my i-pod for the long walks I’ll be taking (starting next week).
A mix of humour and enlightenment, with Grammar Hell it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one.
Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman are authors and co-authors of two books on my final list – Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English and Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing. You Send Me: Getting It Right When You Write Online has been added to my wishlist.
News Observor | Triangle Grammar Guide
Pam Nelson reminds me of my high school English teacher. She dishes on language use and misuse and answers questions about grammar and style.
Liz is an amazing blogger, juggling many projects (I’m addicted to her Open Mic Night). Amongst it all, Liz keeps a healthy dose of writing advice sprinkled throughout her posts on Successful Blog. I gratefully featured Liz back in June, 2006. I owe a lot to Liz: her enthusiastic energy, her kindness, her support of my aim to learn has helped in many ways. Thanks Liz.
Poynter | Writing Tools
As you’ve read above, Roy Peter Clark is the author of Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer which I’ll be using on my quest. The blog is … well, Peter says it best ¯In the beginning was the word, then came the book, then came the blog.
Daily Grammar and Word Tips
Daily Grammar Tips dailygrammar.com
Word of the day dictionary.com
Still to Purchase
Well, that’s it. Mostly. After getting this far I’m not sure I can get away without explaining how I’m going to pull this off. As this has been an extensive and time consuming project up until this point, my little voice keeps repeating RUN cat RUN! … but the golden rule let no project remain unfinished pushes me to complete ‘Learn to Write’ with Part 8: The Writing Resolution. Yes, I’m coming full circle.
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