A brief but energetic guide that makes good use of sample passages to turn readers into practitioners of clear, effective...

A NOVEL APPROACH

TO WRITING YOUR FIRST BOOK (OR YOUR BEST ONE)

A common-sense approach to turning inspiration into a novel.

In this how-to guide for aspiring writers, London (Virginia’s War, 2009) offers a series of simple recommendations for writers looking for help in researching a topic, suggestions for maintaining motivation and advice on avoiding grammatical errors. London draws heavily on his own experience writing military historical fiction, but to illustrate his points, he also makes use of numerous excerpts from well-known books: e.g., Girl with a Pearl Earring is an example of deft research; A Scandal in Bohemia opens an exploration of the character-driven story. A discussion of pacing uses Debt to Pleasure and The Da Vinci Code as particularly effective examples of the extremes plots may reach. A concluding section addresses polishing and revising the completed manuscript—London recommends hiring an editor—and the importance of book reviews. The book’s approach to fiction writing, particularly historical fiction, is on the whole reasonable, urging readers to develop literary skills by reading widely and evaluating other works. The tone is encouraging but not given to cheerleading; it’s directed at the reader who prefers a tutor to a support group. The book’s brevity, also one of its assets, allows targeted analysis with a clear, incisive point regarding a scene from, say, Gone with the Wind. London doesn’t get bogged down in extended literary criticism, and his book has its limitations. Some will find the dogmatic tone excessive—“Your first commitment is to write one thousand words a day. Every day”—while descriptivists will bristle at the depiction of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves as the modern authority on grammar. Minor but notable mistakes may catch the reader’s eye: London treats “Strunk and White” as a title instead of a pair of authors, and Jane Austen fans will cringe at multiple references to “Elizabeth Bennett.”

A brief but energetic guide that makes good use of sample passages to turn readers into practitioners of clear, effective writing.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0990612100

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Vire Press, LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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