A wide-ranging and comprehensive guide filled with practical advice that will be most helpful for beginning writers.




A manual for beginning writers to start transferring their spoken ideas onto the page.

“The key to becoming a good writer,” Klein writes in his introduction, is “Getting your speaking voice out of your head and putting it down on paper.” After running a freelance-writing business and publishing several Sudoku instruction books, he decided to group his best pieces of technical writing advice in this manual. Music and speech are at the core of his arguments about what makes great writing; he cites scientific studies about how crying babies mimic the musicality of spoken language and cites other writers, such as Gary Provost, who stress the importance of re-creating cadences on the page. Klein distills a lot of basics that more experienced writers will remember from Strunk & White’s concise handbook: choosing active voice over passive, varying sentence structures, and choosing unexpected or unusual words. However, Klein does try to keep his examples fun and engaging, such as by comparing Stevie Wonder’s repetitive “I Just Called to Say I Love You” lyrics to those of the Young Rascals’ “How Can I Be Sure?” His most interesting advice comes when he explores the distinction between free-writing and flow-writing; he encourages writers to attack a subject they know with a general plan in mind, without fixing one’s grammar or other mistakes at first. Klein’s book is primarily a textbook for beginners; as such, he delves into technical matters such as time management, self-publishing, and getting the most of word-processing programs. He also synthesizes advice from numerous other authors and includes an extensive quotes and references section, all of which will be helpful to those just starting out. However, the book might be too expansive for those who are simply looking to polish their skills, and Klein includes very little about his own personal stories and processes.

A wide-ranging and comprehensive guide filled with practical advice that will be most helpful for beginning writers.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5485-6846-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 8, 2018

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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