I first read Writing Well by Mark Tredinnick a few years back. It has held pride of place on my writing book shelf because it is one of the most helpful and beautifully written books on writing I’ve read so far.
“Writing Well is a guide to expressive creative writing and effective professional prose. The author, a poet, writer, editor and teacher, explains the techniques required for stylish and readable writing. Everyone who wants to improve their writing can benefit from this book, which describes how to: identify topics that inspire you to write, get into the habit of writing regularly, develop ideas, construct effective arguments, choose words for maximum effect, use grammar correctly, structure sentences and paragraphs appropriately, write with integrity. The book is enriched by examples from great modern writers, and includes a variety of exercises and suggestions for writing activities. Mark Tredinnick practises what he preaches, making his book highly enjoyable as well as technically instructive.” (GoodReads)
In the prologue of The Sense of Style, Steven Pinker writes:
“It’s not just that I welcome advice on the lifelong challenge of perfecting the craft of writing. It’s also that credible guidance on writing must itself be well written, and the best of the manuals are paragons of their own advice.”
Writing Well fits this description and is, indeed, a paragon of its own advice. I really enjoyed reading it. Tredinnick provides useful advice and fantastic exercises to get you flexing your writing muscles. He includes example passages from well known works to illustrate his points and this, too, was wonderful to read in addition to being illustrative.
My favourite chapters were Sentencing, which gave an in depth look at the structure of different types of sentences and when to make use of them; and Poetics, which was about the art of creative writing.
It was a useful and inspiring read. This book isn’t just for fiction writers, but anyone looking to improve their writing whether you’re focusing on fiction, poetry, or report writing for work. It’s a book you may well read more than once – I’ve just finished it for a second time. If, like me, you enjoy reading books about writing improvement this one has got to be on your list.