Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Booknote: 265 Troubleshooting Strategies for Writing Nonfiction

Title: 265 Strategies for Writing Nonfiction
Author: Barbara Fine Clouse
Publication Information: New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005
ISBN: 0071445390
Genre: Nonfiction
Subgenre: Writing Guides/Handbooks
Pages: 178

This is the type of book a writer can use to get a refresher on writing techniques and on the writing process. It is written in the form of a troubleshooting guide. There is a question or problem, for example "I can't think of the right word" (Chapter 8). The author then provides strategies to solve the problem. This format makes the book easy to read and scan. Readers can read it cover to cover, but I think they can derive more benefit fro mthe book by looking for sections suited to their needs at a given time.

One of the suggestions the author gives is to write on a daily schedule (30). This is not new; other handbooks say it. It stuck with me because I am terrible that way. I write when I feel the need, which is often daily, or every other day. It is never at the same time. Part of me always feels guilty about this: I am a writer, yet I can't disciplined enough to get a work schedule when it comes to writing? Well, I think in my case, my writing gets done on flex time. I will say that since I started blogging I feel a greater need to write, and my writing has gotten a bit more regular. I still use my journal, though a little less because I save drafts in the blogging system's cue. I still write a good share of stuff by hand and use the journal for the more personal things. I learned that you have to find what works for you. Flex time works for me.

Since the book's focus is on nonfiction, the book may be helpful to writers who blog as well given that much of blogging is nonfiction. It offers good ideas that can help bloggers improve their posts. I like the book because it is simple and clear in its style and content. You look up your topic and find what you need written in a good and friendly style. The section on editing is good for a quick grammar refresher. For students of wrtiting and for practicing writers, this is a good book.

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