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April 06, 2007


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Where else would I go to learn about style, commas and the benefits of memorization?

Thank you for the perfect post to end the week with.

Looking forward to the good that plagiarism can do!

Keep creating,

I've been reading your blog since Jon Carroll recommended you, and I must say this was one of your best posts. Thanks for a couple of great book ideas.

Mike--Yagoda tells us in his introduction to "The Voice on the Page" that he wrote the book to fill a gap. He says one reason for "the paucity of books on individual style" is that it's so hard to separate content from style. I certainly haven't found other books that treat the subject of writing style as intimately and comprehensively as he does. On the other hand, there are dozens of books that purport to tell writers how to "get in touch with their inner voice." (Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones" and its successors are probably the most famous.) The problem with this approach is that it's all about the writer and not one bit about communicating with a reader.

As for commas and their kin, you could do no better than to read everything Bill Walsh writes, starting with "Lapsing into a Comma" and "The Elephants of Style" and continuing with his web site, www.theslot.com, and his blog, http://theslot.blogslot.com. I would avoid at all costs Lynne Truss's misinformed best-seller, "Eats, Shoots & Leaves."

And memorization? Can't help you there. It fell out of favor in education about 30 years ago and is awaiting a resurrection. I hope Yagoda's endorsement sparks a revival.

I love to read Mark Helprin. I could stare at one of his paragraphs for hours. Well, quarters-of-an-hour anyway. The craftsmanship is intricate and evocative.

To write like him, however; what audience has the time to read it?

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