Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How To Write Anything: A Complete Guide by Laura Brown

How To Write Anything: A Complete Guide.  Laura Brown. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. April 2014. 608 pp.  ISBN#: 9780393240146.

With the prevalence of texting and email with its abbreviated spelling, the art of writing is for many young people an unknown reality.  Laura Brown has provided a guide to almost every type of writing that will be required by a student, worker or any individual needing to communicate in correct and appropriate form.  Section I and II address the need to have a clear purpose and knowledge of one’s audience when communicating, including the need to revise over and over again so that one conveys a professional stance.  These chapters often address the issue of not writing for and to one’s self but the need to know your audience with their needs and skills and to write toward a very specific person or group.  The issue of knowing when to place a telephone call and when to write is also addressed, as well as the courtesy that is essential even in IMs and email messages.

The text then takes the reader through all those life events that the majority of us experience over the years such as introductions, announcements, condolences, love letter (yes, even that), obituaries, weddings, births, baby showers, personal letters to neighbors, letters to oppose parking tickets, notes to teachers, etc., etc.

The next section is so necessary, even though readers may wrongly assume these skills are taught in school, and include how to take notes, make an outline, and write summaries, research papers and essays in the different forms that different subjects require.  This is followed by just about every type of letter one would need to write in the business environment and when seeking a job or a promotion.

Examples of both the do’s and don’ts of each type of writing are very helpful parts within each section. Essential and important rules are highlighted in shaded grey boxes and circular graphs are included to assist one in progressing through different steps in each process.  Correct grammar and punctuation complete the package.

While this might not seem like endearing reading, it is a fascinating, comprehensive collection of fine writing in every imaginable form.  This should be a staple text for every family – very nicely done, Laura Brown!!!

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