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.