Sunday, July 30, 2006
A good writer should be able to disassemble and reassemble a good sentence. Her life as a writer depends on the mastery of her primary tool.
To that end, some resources:
http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/cnt_gram.asp . A concise guide to the most common errors.
Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. Memorization, while not required, is recommended. The Ten Commandments of usage.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Popular and useful. (Note that this blog doesn't necessarily follow the book's prescriptions. Consistency and hobgoblins and all that...)
Quinn's Figures of Speech: 60 Ways to Turn a Phrase. An underappreciated gem. Quinn takes us through all of the most important rhetorical techniques of the English language, using examples of great writing from King James to James Joyce.
Watt's An American Rhetoric. Quite rare. Highly recommended. John Gardner's favorite.
These books are particularly useful to anyone who attempts screenwriting as a second language. (Too many non-Anglophones start English language scripts without first mastering English. More on this later.)