The perks of being a book lover opens so many horizons for you. You are fortunate to explore so many virtual worlds and thus your imagination always get fine-tuning. Gradually you can imagine even better. And, eventually you lead to imagining something with a substance.
I consider myself and all our team members even luckier to get a chance to explore the works of some fantastic new, unknown or lesser known authors also. And, more often than not, you find some fantastic books and connect with some talented authors on the course. Because, for everyone, the journey stars from the first step!
Recently we got a chance to have hands on a book in “How To” category. We are talking about How to Become a Better Writer: A Friendly Guide to Ace Middle and High School English by author Anishka Verma. Fortunately, from our team, I got a chance to read this book.
Here are my views and reviews for this book, which are genuine and unbiased by all means.
| How to Become a Better Writer
A Friendly Guide to Ace Middle and High School English
|# of Pages
|178 (Paperback) 1036 KB; 178 (Kindle EBook)
|# of Chapters
By the way, here are some other books in “How to” category we got a chance to read and share our views about. You may want to explore them as well.
This Is Here In For You
Do you believe in the famous saying – Don’t judge a book by its cover?
And, at the same time, we also acknowledge the importance of first impression. Cover page of the book is the first thing that appear in front of a potential reader. If the book stands out in when surrounded by so many other siblings of hers, then the chances of it catching attention of the explorer are high!
As you can see, this book has a very simple cover page and it gives you an impression of a study material. In one aspect, it is good; simple and faithful to its genre. The light bluish background gives the effect of the vastness and simple and elegant fonts used for the title, tagline and author name looks decent.
Overall, a very simple cover page which could have been better.
The Book And What I Think Of It:
Usually we talk about a book in two distinguished segments, dedicated to the book story and our views for the same respectively. For “how to/self help” books, we need to merge these segment together.
First thing first. This book has a target readership and it is curated for the same. It is primarily written as a potential guide for those who wants to write better. Especially in academics.
But, think beyond.
Everyone of us need to express our thoughts, and more often we find we are not conveying it properly.
The art of writing better indirectly helps you simplifying the linguistics and helps you in mastering the way to present them in a more effective manner. Even if you don’t want to be a public speaker or a writer, then also, the skill conveying your thoughts and feelings effectively to the others, help you in almost all the aspects of the life. So, even if you don’t consider yourself a part of the target readership; don’t allow that feeling to be a reason to skip any such books. But, just to convey, who the author wrote this book for (as a primary reader), let me quote the following lines form the book itself:
Who is this Book For? This book is my sincere effort to put together in one place
everything a middle or a high school English student would need to shine in their class.
For the author also, the journey have actually started when she realized:
I discovered that writing was not merely a form of expression, but something that could be developed into an art.
The book talks at length about the importance of writing essays and stories in the school. This segment of academics is not included for nothing. In the book we find various segment in raw format and then after editing it for one or more times. This practical exploration is something I like the most in the book. It, not only shows, how to replace the words/phrases or even sentences with better and more effective alternatives. It also clarifies that using fancy words is good, but at a certain extent only. Simplicity is the key for an effective conversation. If there are so many words in a sentence which require you to pull a dictionary to find the meaning of (or Google them, as we do these days :)), it works adversely. Here are some important and interesting quotes in the same context from the book:
The 3 Key Principles of Writing are simplicity, clarity, and elegance.
Even the best writing can look average if not edited for content, flow, punctuation, and grammar.
When writing, never force anything into existence. If it doesn’t belong, take it away.
Do not construct awkward sentences…
Use fancy words, but don’t overdo…
Never complicate things more than they need to be…
The author has shared her award winning essay and other works in order to introduce the reader to what the quality writing is (in terms of public and experts’ opinion), with example. The author also refers to various books and what can be learn from them including Odyssey, Percy Jackson series, works of Mark Twain, J K Rowling, and many others. The author also refers movie dialogs and how well impactful they are (as they are well written and, of course, well explored) including the movies like Ford v Ferrari and others. The author notes some interesting lines like:
The flowers danced in the gentle breeze.
That makes you believe when the author says:
… writing is part science and part art.
The author advices to develop your own writing style and gives some basic tips like:
To have a good story, you need a good idea.
The easiest way to describe a scenery is to pretend that you are there yourself.
We cannot leave it to the knowledge of the reader to put together data and facts we withhold. Not every reader comprehends the text at the same level.
And also re-iterates the fact that:
A fiction story is one of the hardest pieces of literature to write.
The author has the ability to look at any author (or her/his work) objectively: So you can find the lines like:
… JK Rowling used very British English that Americans just cannot comprehend.
Yes, it is a magic world but you, as a reader, become a part of it. Gilderoy Lockhart’s bragging begins to seem like an
Uncle’s or Aunt’s. You wish Rowling would kill Bellatrix Lestrange. Or that Cedric Diggory evades death. This is how involved it can get when characters are presented subjectively.
To help reader to Make his/her Writing Stand Out, the book contains some practice exercises also. More importantly the author suggest the wannabe writer to not to fall in a loop to achieve perfection. If you will wait for the same, probably you may never write. The author also says:
Remember, each sentence is a very lonely place. Only a reader and writer are permitted into the place.
What a gem of writing!
There are chapters on art of punctuation, grammar, tips to write stories, literary devices and more. Here are some of these aspects from the book:
homophones: Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation but are spelled differently.
Irony (a device that is used for the theme)
Foreshadowing (a device that is used for the plot)
I found the following lesson very meaningful for all the story writers and bloggers like us:
The final principle is revising your sentence (or a series of sentences) …
… just revise an essay twice and let it lie like that. Read it after a week and, surprise surprise, you will see 3-4 fresh errors there.
There are so many lessons to learn from the book, if you really want to be a better writer. However, if I need to share only one, I would possibly settle for the following:
Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The above mentioned quotes must have given you a fair idea about the book and its content. If you find it appealing, you should surely go for it.
The author is a very young girl, but the lessons she learnt by her experience, by making mistakes and rectifying them with proper guidance, are really commendable. No wonder, she got a wide recognition for this book and the book received an award also! And, as per the famous saying, the age of a teacher (a conveyer of the knowledge – in this aspect) doesn’t matter. What matters are the lessons and the way of conveying them.
The only thing I found a letdown attribute, is the price of the book. It is really pricey, especially for Indian market. No doubt, it has the quality, but when your target readership is pre-teens and teens, you need to be reasonable here. Of course, you can argue that some of the school books for central board and international board are also costly, they are part of course-curriculum and there is no choice for the students or parents there. And, for this book, they are free to choose; and that makes the difference. There is a silver lining, though . If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can get this book to read for free! And, in that case, you don’t need to think twice before picking this book up!
If you want to sharpen your writing skills and/or you want to know about how to be a better writer, this is a book you don’t want to miss. It is a book with a substance. It definitely adds positive value to your writing (and eventually) communication skills. The price is the only (and major) factor you need to consider. For a Kindle Unlimited subscriber it is available for free, others may want to wait for an attractive book deal!
Around 8 to 8.5 stars out of 10.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy - How to Become a Better Writer by Anishka Verma - Paperback - Amazon IN
- Buy - How to Become a Better Writer by Anishka Verma - Kindle EBook - Amazon IN
- Buy - How to Become a Better Writer by Anishka Verma - Paperback - Amazon US
- Buy - How to Become a Better Writer by Anishka Verma - Kindle EBook - Amazon US
Over To You:
If you already have read the book do share your remarks and thoughts via comments below. Does this review help you in making your decision to buy or read the book? Do not forget to share this article with your friends over various social networks. Please follow/subscribe us on various Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, Audible, and others. And yes, you may like to subscribe to our RSS feeds to get latest updates for the site to land right in your mail box.