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The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well
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The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  323 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Teaches the elements of good writing through the use of essential guidelines, literary techniques, and proper writing mechanics.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Marion Street Press, LLC
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Adam Wiggins
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
I view The Book on Writing as the third member of the holy trinity consisting of On Writing Well and The Elements of Style (aka Strunk & White). Like these other two exalted texts, The Book on Writing is an advertisement for its own advice. The 233 pages flew by, despite what is arguably very dry subject matter.

A grab bag of my favorite points:

- Clarity is everything. Almost every aspect of good writing is built on the foundation of conveying your point clearly.

- Sentences should be less tha
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This book has a lot of useful writing suggestions. Is it the ultimate book? No, that's more of a marketing thing. But I will say it inspired me to write more and with greater quality. I think everyone should take pride in their daily lives; knowing how to convey verbal information clearly is important. It's pretty easy to see how writing well is useful.

The last few chapters on grammar were a little dry, true. However, all the other chapters were lively and engaging. The advice given was accompan
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Another writing book. Thought I was going to read a third one, but I'll stop for now. I'm reading these mainly for the fact I have writer's block. These books might help my grammar: my weakness. I found this one easier to read than Elements of Style. It doesn't read like a textbook and it has more wit. They are both equally as good and helpful.
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've read Paula's book several times now. There is not much to it, just 12 guidelines to writing well and lots of examples. I love some of Paula's legal or political examples of bad writing. I really wish we could hire about 10,000 Paula LoRocque's to start going through our ridiculously wordy, incomprehensibly obtuse legal system and translating our laws into clear, understandable English. The Constitution and its amendments meet that standard, but I've seen precious few other examples. LaRocqu ...more
Rajat Narula
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A much recommended book on Amazon. The first part of the book is quite basic. Use simple words, vary the length of sentences and the like. The momentum picks up in the 2nd part where there is some insightful advice on building character, building tension, and the perennial: showing vs. telling. There is nothing new about the advice but the examples bring it to life. I enjoyed the Part 3 -> handbook on correct use of the language – there were plenty of surprises there.
Kamryn (GreyZone)
This piece of nonfiction inspired me to rethink the writing of my essays and emails, let alone my fiction. All in all a solid piece that I will continue to reference as I compose any sort of work. This is good to have on hand for any fiction or academic writer looking to delve further than what English class teaches you about the actual craft of writing.
i like this
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 5-star
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this book, and I only wish I had read it before starting college – it would have made things go much more smoothly, I’m sure!

Part 1: A Dozen Guidelines to Good Writing
I learned so much from just the first twelve chapters that I stopped reading for a while and started going through my blog posts to see where I could make them more readable and concise. My favorite passage in this section comes from chapter 2, which is entitled “Avoid Pretensions, Go
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
The reason for me to read this book was to improve my writing style. Pretty obvious, right? I read quite a lot and am often impressed by how sophisticated people can express themselves. I have to admit, I don't always find these texts, books etc. easy to read and understand, at least not all of them, but I was impressed nonetheless. I believed that I lacked the vocabulary and understanding of the English language because I am not a native speaker. Sometimes this may be right, but I learned that ...more
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Move over Elements of Style, because Paula LaRocque has your number. This is as useful, and in some ways more so, than that classic. This may in fact be the book on writing. Its first 100 pages are as clear and concise a review of essential writing mechanics as I've ever read -- and such a good reminder that they belong on the "read every year" list for anyone wanting to keep their writing sharp. The second hundred pages tie together in their own succinct and lively way an array of insights into ...more
Michael Parker
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first section on writing mechanics contains essential advice for every writer. Much of its content overlaps with the book "Writing Tools." I'm not writing fiction, and so I only skimmed the second section on storytelling devices. The third section, enigmatically titled "A Handbook," tackles myths, relics, and vestiges of writing like never splitting infinitives or ending a sentence with a preposition. This was welcome, as Elements of Style dispenses some antiquated advice. But it felt out of ...more
Jaroslav Tuček
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really like The Book on Writing. It's very informative and thorough - covering topics of relevance both to fiction and non-fiction writers - yet manages to make enjoyable what otherwise might have been a dry read.

The book's two main parts focus on writing mechanics and storytelling devices. They are both quite helpful and the excerpts used by the author to illustrate her points generally excellent.
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Being the first book of its kind I've ever read, I guess I don't have much to compare it with. But nonetheless, it seems like the author really knows what she's talking about. Just reading the book will not make you a good writer, of course, but she does give some valuable tips and guidelines about writing in general. I would've liked if she wrote a little more about how to write fiction, but that's just me:)
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a very motivating and thought provoking book. It gave me an interesting perspective on myself and my ability to create and write. I took my time and really thought about the message of resistance. I now know the enemy and what I must do to overcome it so that I can be more productive. I am very touched by the last chapter in the book. Create what you are meant to create don't let others and yourself lose out on what you were meant to do. I highly recommend this book.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I never finished this book, but I guess that's okay. I read enough...
This book has good advice, but maybe a little too detailed and boring for me. It seems like a lot of things are repeated, and the chapters kind of seem like they are in the wrong order.
There's good advice, but there's also lengthy discussions about other's writing, and it drags on and on, with very little solid advice.
Richard Givan
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fine book on the art and craft of writing, both fiction and nonfiction. While not a topic of mass appeal, the subject is dear of some of us, and this work stands out as a shining guide. I am suddenly self-conscious about writing this review, worrying about introducing sentences with long subordinate clauses and other weak affections, so I'm quitting now, while I'm not too far behind.
Cecily Robertson
Dec 10, 2009 rated it liked it
I read this for my Media Writing class as well. LaRoque's tips are very helpful, and they're not the sort of writing tips you hear everywhere. Simply the way she writes the book makes it easy to learn from her.
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Stanley Hall
May 28, 2010 is currently reading it
I wish I could write like this book is teaching. An entertaining book with more insights. If you have to or want to write, and want to do it well then check out this book.
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful in my formal proposal writing skills. Never be satisfied in your abilities... reminders, techniques and new information is always helpful
Eclectic Reader
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This is an easy-to-read book crammed full with helpful advice. While it's slanted toward business writers, or journalist, as a novelist, I found the information to be helpful to my trade, too.
Visnja Zeljeznjak
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Practical, with lots of examples. Taught me what "show, don't tell" means. Read my detailed book notes here..
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really liked it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Ambivalent. Simple principles with lots of explanation. I read most of it and skimmed the rest.
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful.
Cheralyn Darcey
rated it it was amazing
Oct 27, 2014
Teraisa Goldman
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Jan 03, 2015
Ziv Kitaro
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Dec 15, 2013
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Feb 11, 2015
Judy Carney
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Nov 29, 2014
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Paula is an editor, communications consultant, and author of nonfiction who has recently turned her attention to writing fiction. Her first novel, a mystery titled “Chalk Line,” will be published by Marion Street Press, Inc., in 2011.

Often hailed as one of America’s foremost writing coaches, Paula has conducted writing workshops for hundreds of media, government, academic, and business groups acro