Monday, August 22, 2011

Giveaway! Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students

[SECOND UPDATE: Friday, 10:11 PM: The drawing is closed and the names have been drawn.]

Did you hear that Borders is going out of business?  I was at a Borders store last  Tuesday and picked up three books I'd had my eye on. One was Grammar Girl Presents the Ultimate Writing Guide for Students (affiliate link) which I referenced in a historic blog post last week (historic in the life of this blog, anyway).

I haven't sat down and read the whole thing, obviously, so what follows is my initial impression having flipped through it, read some chunks here and there, and so forth.

This is, without a doubt, THE book that you need to improve your writing. Yeah, you may still have to buy Elements of Style (affiliate link) or the style book required for your field (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc.), but Grammar Girl's Ultimate Writing Guide is the one writing book to rule them all. Here are five reasons you need to buy it (affiliate link):

  1. You will reference it often, so keep it nearby.
  2. Illustrations! There is wisdom in having pictures in a book about words.
  3. Stop forgetting little things once and for all. She provides useful mnemonic devices so that you will remember the difference between pesky points of grammar you always forget.
  4. Quick and dirty tips. Sometimes you don't need a history lesson or lengthy background information. Just the facts, ma'am. Remember, her podcast is called Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing - an episode does NOT run an hour or even thirty minutes. It's informative and entertaining, but she doesn't waste any time, either.
  5. She helps you improve your writing, not just grammar. Grammar is important, but grammar alone can't snap you out of writer's block and put pen to paper.
I wish this book would have been available fifteen years ago when I was in middle school. I would have been a much better writer in high school, college, and seminary. But at least I have it now and I can put it to good use. Keep reading my blog, if for no other reason, to watch my writing improve.

Finally, I'm giving away a copy of the Ultimate Writing Guide to one of my readers. I will draw the winner this Friday, August 26, 2011. To enter, just fill out this form. [UPDATE: Fixed the form, corrected the drawing date on the confirmation note.] [SECOND UPDATE: Friday, 10:11 PM: The drawing is closed and the names have been drawn.]