|Five Fast Steps to Better Writing
By Barbara Florio Graham
Opus Mundi Canada, 1985
110 pages, $15
I decided to review this 21-year-old book for two reasons: First, because I told SPAWN member/author, Barbara Florio Graham that I would and because it is still highly relevant to writers and authors today.
Canadian-based Graham originally wrote this book to fill a need among educated adults working in federal government departments, but soon found it had a solid following among businesspeople, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and students. This book is a simplified guide to simplified writing. The five steps are clear and reasonable: Prepare, Draft, Revise, Strengthen and Polish. The presentation is light and sprinkled with humor.
The author speaks my language when she suggests putting away the dictionary until you’ve at least written your first draft. I was pleased to see so much help for the muddy writer. She gives some marvelous examples to help us tighten our sentences. I especially like her guide designed to help readers pare cumbersome phrases into one succinct word. For example, instead of saying, "due to the fact that," say, "because." Or, rather than, "at this point in time," what’s wrong with "now"?
She shows writers how to transition from paragraph to paragraph and how to use verbs to strengthen sentences. She gives a useful grammar lesson and an entertaining section called "Banished By Barbara." Here, she lists words that we should stop using. My gosh, do people still say, "very unique," "anyways," "try and" and "would of?"
If you want to add a handy little addition to your collection of writing books, you should consider Barbara Florio Graham’s "Five Fast Steps to Better Writing."