Book Review: 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost was recommended reading from one of my writing workshops. It’s a super slim pocket sized volume that is the perfect take-off and landing read on a plane. In fact, that’s how I read the entire book. During my flights to and from LA.

Because of its brevity, I would recommend this book to writers who have read other books on the craft of writing and writing techniques first. This is a terrific refresher and contains some great nuggets, but there are short bursts of insight that could leave the beginner baffled.

He does include examples of the right and wrong way to apply what he’s teaching–which helped drive home his points. I’m a fan of examples. Especially ones that illustrate how to apply and not apply the teachings.

Also keep in mind, this book was published in 1985 so there is a quaintness to some of the ways that may not translate perfectly to this time.

Overall, I enjoyed it and I took away new techniques and new insights so it was a worthwhile read to me.

 

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16 Responses to Book Review: 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

  1. I always enjoy reading tips and tricks that work for various writers. Sounds like a fun grab-anytime-and-read type book. 😉

    Thanks, Kourtney! Have a happy Monday.

    • I really liked that this writer stressed that good writers break the rules, once they know them really well. 🙂 It was a fun easy read and the way the book was arranged made it easy to pick up anytime. 🙂 Have a terrific Monday!

  2. I’ve read it – now I’ll re-read it.

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    The “quaintness” line made me think of King’s On Writing, where he discusses querying agents. And the example he gives is of a young writer he knows writing to agent BEFORE the novel is finished! Can you imagine that today!?

    • Yeah, some sections don’t stand the test of time. In this book he talks of writing the story in his head before he gets to his typewriter at the newspaper office. Very similar to the Stephen King querying thing. Some things just can be replicated in the present. 🙂

  4. Always love your recommendations (and passing this one along to my hubs as well)..many thanks!
    (BTW, I’ve nominated most deserving you for an award! If you’d like to accept it, please check out my post here. If you’d rather not, please know that I respect the work you put into your blog and am more than happy just to have been able to mention it, lovingly, on my own.

    With love,

    Anne)

    • Aw thanks so much Anne! I really appreciate awards because they tell me I’m doing something someone likes. 🙂 I’ll definitely accept it. Might be a little while before I do an awards post (I like to gather them up and do one huge post), but many many thanks for this!!!

      Hugs,
      Kourtney

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    This looks like another good one. I’ve just started “The First 50 Pages” based on your last recommendation. Well, I’m only a few pages in so far, but it looks like it will be helpful. There are just so many things demanding my attention that it’s hard to read through these books as quickly as I’d like to. So many good ones out there!

    • Oh that 50 pages rocked! This one is much briefer and more of a reminder/refresher at a mere 156 pages. Save it for plane riding. Seriously it was a lovely little pocket sized book. I can’t imagine how hectic things are with revisions and your book coming out soon! I just got back from a conference where I bought, gasp, more books. LOL.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        Good luck finding time to read them all!

        I just submitted my Errata which was the last editing phase. Now I guess I just wait. So until then, I better start boning up on how to market, because that comes next. Meanwhile between that and blogging, I’m supposed to be creating something new. That part isn’t exactly happening. 🙂

        • I plan to live for a while! ;P Right now I’m working on requested revisions for an agent so I’m not able to do much reading. But I steal a moment here and there. And when I’m done with revisions, I may squeeze in 3 or 4 books to read.

          Congrats on getting all your edits in!!!! That’s AMAZING. Waiting is rough, that’s why it’s good to get going on the next idea. Even just playing around and daydreaming about it. I usually think for a couple months before I actually draft a new novel. But it helps me draft a lot faster cause I did all that pre-writing in my thinking phase. 🙂

  6. I never read books on writing. Probably should though – every time I look back five years, my writing seems to have got slightly better (so it must have been worse before).

    • For me, they are great for learning and way cheaper than conferences. But the trick is figuring out when, where and how to apply what you’ve learned. I always think of them as insider tips and guidance, never rigid rules that I must conform to. 🙂

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