book guide to writingIf you’re a member of the ELB mailing list you may have seen that I’m working on a new guide to improved writing skills. The idea is to present advanced writing tips for learners of English as a foreign language – a guide based on how the language functions, as opposed to as a creative art (which may have value for native speakers, too!). To introduce the book, I want to share the chapter topics that I currently have planned, and I welcome feedback on any additional topics you’re interested in – or ideas/hopes for how these will be discussed!

Writing as a skill

Beyond the basics, good writing is a skill rather than a set of rules, so this book aims to go beyond the rules to inspire confidence in fluent, personal writing. It’s a guide for how to think about these topics and rules, rather than a reference book for correct usage. For example, while I may cover some points of correct punctuation, the chapter on punctuation is intended to highlight areas of punctuation that are flexible – including when they are flexible and how such flexibility can be effectively applied.

It’s also my intention to create a fairly comprehensive look at the study of writing in different mediums. Many ideas for what makes “effective writing” are highly dependent on context – and with that in mind the book will have two parts – the first concerning general writing principles and craft, the second covering considerations for writing in specific areas.

So, please take a look at the current contents list below and see what you think! Are there any topics you don’t see included, or any that you want to cover a specific topic? Let me know! Note – these are all working titles designed to illustrate the topics I have in mind – and they may all be subject to change.

Planned contents of the ELB writing skills book

Part 1 – Writing Craft

  • Style
  • Simplicity
  • Planning
  • Vocabulary
  • Describing Words (possibly expanding to descriptive language)
  • Spelling
  • Accuracy
  • Perspective (i.e. first person, second person)
  • Choice of Tense
  • Passive / Active Voice
  • Formal Language
  • Informal Language
  • Emphasis
  • Political Correctness (i.e. offensive writing)
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Punctuation (conventions and exceptions, as with the next 3 chapters)
  • Capital Letters
  • Numbers
  • Dates
  • Editing
  • Practice (i.e. ideas for improving your writing)
  • Tips for Faster Writing
  • Bending the Rules (i.e. overall thoughts on being flexible)

Part 2 – Examples

  • Cover Letters
  • Emails
  • Social Media
  • Academic Writing
  • Exams
  • Headlines
  • Journalism
  • Biographies
  • Narratives (particularly storytelling, creative writing)
  • Online Articles (blogs)
  • Sales Copy
  • Advertising
  • Reports and Summaries

If you’d like to keep updated about the book and you’re not a member of the mailing list, be sure to join to be the first to know when the book’s released!

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