Writing is a difficult task (to say nothing of writing with a second language), no one is in more need of guidance and help than a writer who doesn’t know how to put her thoughts into words in a captivating and convincing way. “Style toward Clarity and Grace” can help, it is a thorough, elaborated yet comprehensible guide book on communicating complexity effectively and elegantly. The precursor of this book was a text book of writing for undergraduate students in US, which is to say this may not be the right book for everyone. A couple of things ESL learners may want to know before they pick up this book: it says little about grammar, nothing about choosing the right words and collocation; it is not a book on how to write correctly, but how to write well.
This book consists of 8 parts: causes, clarity, cohesion, emphasis, coherence, concision, length, elegance and usage. At the very first beginning of the book, Mr.Williams shows us it is very difficult to write in a clear, precise and elegant style by providing examples of professional and educated writings that doesn’t measure up to this standard. After explaining why it is easy to fall short, he uses the following parts to deal with sentences construction and prose rendering: in parts that titled clarity, cohesion and emphasis Mr Williams teaches us skills from the basic level of constructing a sentence as readable and unequivocal to the advanced level of refining a sentence as graceful and powerful; in parts that titled coherence, concision and length he centers on ways of linking sentences smoothly and climatically, and then, on manners of unveiling sufficient evidence to entrance the readers rather than to stifle them; in the part titled elegance he talks about the whole presentation of writing as in how to write beautifully even poetically (the more advanced writing tools such as metaphor and rhythm are briefly mentioned in this part.)
One of the things that makes this book great is that it doesn’t instill dogmas like other writing books always do, Mr Williams provides methods that can be used to make our writing clear and elegant at the same time empathizes the importance of maintaining our creativity and cultivating our own style. In the final part, Mr Williams introduces the idea that some grammar rules can be broken to best serve our writing.
Reading this book was a journey that taught me the playfulness and fulfillment of writing, it not only helps me write better but also inspires me to write more.