Before your vocal chords burst into the chorus from Julie Andrews’ “My Favorite Things” (dash it all, I hate to spoil your fun), I’m not talking about those kinds of things
Something better. Some wonderful resources for writing and editing, which include books and websites.
Now, wait a minute …
I saw those fingers over your mouth (masking a yawn?). Hey, did you know that the mere mention of the word “yawn” is enough to get people yawning? Try it sometime (but not in a meeting).
For those who have, on previous occasions, endured boring lists, you shall be vindicated in the last paragraph.
The first favourite is The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon: an illustrated, grammatical romp with gothic creatures.
Next: a fantastic, fun resource for writers and editors, alike and for those who enjoy dialoguing about the do’s and don’ts of grammar. The site is theslot.com; and the author is Bill Walsh.
His books, Lapsing into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, are guaranteed to have you smiling, if not laughing out loud. (I’d offer a money-back guarantee, but first you would need to send me money … No coins, please.)
A resource that no writer or editor should be without is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, a book heralded for nuggets of literary wisdom such as “Omit needless words.”
Mignon Fogarty is Grammar Girl. Writers and editors will find her podcasts entertaining as well as informative. If you prefer the paper version, check out Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, also available in audio book.
Or if you love opening your e-mail every morning and finding grammar goodies, you can even receive a Grammar Girl tip, Monday to Friday, in your Inbox.
And if you are a “wordie” who loves to receive new words by e-mail, check out wordsmith.org.
Which reminds me …
A local newspaper editor once advised me, wisely, to “read everything you can get your hands on.” This will not only increase your word power, but may also be the muse you need for writing ideas.
You need look no further than Whitehorse and the Yukon to find writers, writing groups, workshops and publications. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless.
I would be remiss in not mentioning my faithful standby, the one I would be lost without: my Canadian Oxford Dictionary.
And if you are writing for Canadian newspapers, magazines or online publications, The Canadian Press Stylebook is a Canadian bestseller. And the Canadian Press Caps and Spelling is a valuable resource.
Now, I promised …
For those who believe that writing is the final frontier and need encouragement to boldly go (look, I even split an infinitive) where none have gone before, do I have the resource for you …
Spunk & Bite: A writer’s guide to bold, contemporary style by Arthur Plotnik, available in hard copy and as an e-book.
(I am naïve enough to believe that Strunk and White and Spunk & Bite can live quite happily, side by side, on the same shelf.)
Writers are bold adventurers; and where bold adventurers go, bold editors must follow.