Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: Word Up! by Marcia Riefer Johnston

Trying to review Marcia Riefer Johnston’s Word Up! daunts me. She starts with a chapter advising vigorous deletion of all “to be” verbs. Ack! Good advice, but it stymies my ability to write a review, lest a stray is, am, was, or are bogs down my prose.

But it must be done. So I’ll offer my opinions and risk straying from the path Johnston’s advice, with a reminder to myself that good writing is a continual process of practice and honing.

Word Up! takes a holistic approach to strong writing, rather than rehashing the same old rules about grammar and punctuation. Johnston covers a lot of ground, but always focuses on getting the most out of every word and sentence. She preaches energetic and repeated editing – to eliminate bloat and flab, make sentences punchy, and create compositions that resonate with readers.

There is just enough jargon and technical guidance in the book to appeal to grammar geeks and punctuation buffs. But the strength of Word Up! lies in Johnston’s enthusiasm for teaching powerful writing. This is a book to turn to again and again for guidance and inspiration.


You would like your review of Word Up! or any other guide to good writing listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.

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