Sometimes the morning headlines can put me in a temper…
Before I upended my computer and started shrieking at my cup of coffee, I thought I’d glance at (translation: habitually check) Twitter to see if there was something there that could lighten my outlook. When, lo and behold, I saw this:
Mr. Dreyer works at Random House, and in January I am looking forward to reading this, Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style from the Copy Chief of Random House.
Click above to pre-order.
Dreyer offers lessons on the ins and outs of punctuation and grammar, including how to navigate the words he calls “the confusables,” like tricky homophones; the myriad ways to use (and misuse) a comma; and how to recognize–though not necessarily do away with–the passive voice. (Hint: If you can plausibly add “by zombies” to the end of a sentence, it’s passive.) People are sharing their writing more than ever–on blogs, on Twitter–and this book lays out, clearly and comprehensibly, everything writers can do to keep readers focused on the real reason writers write: to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively.
Now, if the anecdote Mr. Dreyer relates in the tweet above is true, I believe Ms. Jackson was reminding him of what Maxwell Perkins (he edited Fitzgerald, Wolfe, and Hemingway) wrote in a letter, “I believe the writer…should always be the final judge. I have always held that position and have sometimes seen books hurt thereby, but at least as often helped. The book belongs to the author.”
Here’s to you, author! And well done!