Subtitled ‘More Descriptions, Overused Words and Taboos’, this is a companion to the first book with the same title.
Like that initial volume, this is an essential for any serious writer. Language is our lifeblood, and words are tools we employ to express our thoughts and ideas. If we’re to do this with clarity, precision, imagination and originality, while keeping our work accessible and entertaining, we need access to the greatest variety of words available.
A thesaurus is a good start for an author seeking alternatives to tired expressions, but it’s a limited source, listing only alternatives for the ideas of words. In Kathy Steinemann’s books, we’re presented with advice, examples and exercises to bed the lessons in.
The author examines writing rules, those wonderful, but often restrictive, laws of the medium we all so often wish to ignore, and explains how we can do that without damaging our text. She looks at how dialogue often ignores these rules, in the same way as ordinary people do when they speak. She lists overused words, presenting these in alphabetical order from ‘afraid’ to ‘wink’, and providing ways of avoiding their use by restructuring sentences, as well as giving us alternatives. Overused punctuation is explained, again with suggestions of how to capitalise on this aspect of writing. And she looks at writing taboos from ‘action-beat abuse’ through to ‘word bloat’, once more providing examples of how to change writing style to make the best use of our extensive language.
There are many usage examples and each section is followed by exercises many will find helpful in embedding the information so that its employment becomes habitual.
Along with the first volume, I’ll keep this valuable resource on my PC to augment my other books on words, to be interrogated on those occasions when words fail me. Using these two books of wisdom, any good writer can become exceptional and produce work of lasting quality to keep their readers returning for more.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]