How to Improve Your Writing: Read Books About Writing Mechanics

Chapter 1If you want to improve your writing you should read about writing mechanics. This post features 7 books about grammar, syntax, and punctuation.

I curated this list with recommendations from other writers.


Books About Writing Mechanics

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0205318045" locale="us" height="190" src="" width="150"]A Writer’s Grammar by C. Beth Burch

C. Beth Burch explains the correlation between good writing and grammatical knowledge in [simpleazon-link asin="0205318045" locale="us"]A Writer's Grammar[/simpleazon-link].

Burch presents grammatical concepts in an easy-to-understand tiered way. She begins with basic grammar elements and moves to more advance concepts all the while showing you how grammar affects good writing.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0060891548" locale="us" height="190" src="" width="150"]On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinssner

In [simpleazon-link asin="0060891548" locale="us"]On Writing Well[/simpleazon-link] William Zinssner discusses the fundamental principles of writing.

This guide will show you how to write about just about anything, from people and places to science and technology. Zinssner also offers advice about how to write about yourself.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1580083285" locale="us" height="190" src="" width="150"]Write Right: A Desktop Digest of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style by Jan Venolia

[simpleazon-link asin="1580083285" locale="us"]Write Right![/simpleazon-link] covers the essentials of good writing in an easy-to-follow format.

Venolia starts with the basics. She reminds readers about the different parts of speech and what a correct sentence looks like. Venolia also covers more advanced aspects of the craft with tips for how you can fine-tune your writing.

I liked the sound of this book, so I purchased it and its sister volume [simpleazon-link asin="1580085075" locale="us"]The Right Word![/simpleazon-link] They are handy references.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0812982150" locale="us" height="190" src="" width="150"]Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder

Using examples from his working relationship with editor Richard Todd, Tracy Kidder explores 3 forms of nonfiction in [simpleazon-link asin="0812982150" locale="us"]Good Prose[/simpleazon-link]: narratives, essays, and memoirs.

Kidder looks at the work of a broad range of fiction and nonfiction writers and explains why their works are models of the craft.

Kidder also discusses his views on the present state of the English language.

I have purchased this book and it is on my "To Read" shelf.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0307279413" locale="us" height="190" src="" width="150"]Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Verlyn Klinkenborg will teach you how to write by teaching you how to think about writing.

[simpleazon-link asin="0307279413" locale="us"]Several Short Sentences About Writing[/simpleazon-link] will show you steps you can take and experiments you can try that will revolutionize how you perceive your authorial authority.


Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English by Bill Walsh[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0071422684" locale="us" height="190" src="" width="150"]

Bill Walsh presents and tackles the biggest issues that you will face as a writer or editor in [simpleazon-link asin="0071422684" locale="us"]The Elephants of Style[/simpleazon-link].

Among his “truckload” of tips, Walsh discusses frequently confused elements of good writing, how to use specific language and metaphors, and how to avoid misusing words.

This book also sits on my "To Read" shelf.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="158297358X" locale="us" height="190" src="" width="150"]Getting the Words Right by Theodore Rees Cheney

[simpleazon-link asin="158297358X" locale="us"]Getting the Words Right[/simpleazon-link] has helped writers master their use of language for over twenty years.

Cheney offers advice for how to create smooth transitions between paragraphs, correct inconsistency and incoherent sentences and paragraphs, how to overcome problems of shifting point of view and style, and how you can identify and eliminate weak words to clarify your writing.


Thoughtful-WomanWhat Do You Think?

What is your go-to resource for writing?