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“Can you recommend a good book on writing?”

“Can you recommend a good book on writing?”
I am often asked to recommend a ‘good book on writing’. A simple enough question, but one that is surprisingly hard to answer. In my attempts to do so, I feel a bit like a sommelier, responding to the question with a few of my own: Are you having the fish or the lamb? Do you tend to like full-bodied reds? That is, it’s hard to recommend a book without knowing what sort of writing project you are doing and what sort of support you are likely to perceive as valuable. This list includes some of the books that I find helpful, allowing you to see what might be beneficial to you. Needless to say, some of you will gravitate more naturally to online resources for writing. Note: I’ve included U of T library links for those of you who are local. Jacques Barzun, Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers, Fourth Edition (New York: Quill, 2001). Howard S. Wayne C. Claire Kehrwald Cook, Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985). Patricia T. John M. Joseph M.

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Getting Started: Clustering Ideas Clustering Clustering is similar to another process called Brainstorming. Clustering is something that you can do on your own or with friends or classmates to try to find inspiration in the connection between ideas. The process is similar to freewriting in that as you jot down ideas on a piece of paper or on the blackboard, you mustn't allow that ugly self-censor to intrude and say that your idea (or anyone else's) is dumb or useless. Write it down anyway. In Clustering, you jot down only words or very short phrases.

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