Getting the Words Right, Second Edition


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Getting the Words Right, Second Edition

39 Was to Improve Your Writing
by Theodore A. Rees Cheney
Writer’s Digest Books, 2005
ISBN 1-58297-358-X
$16.99 paperback, 224 pages

Read an Excerpt
From chapter 1, “Shorten or Remove Whole Chapters, Sections, and Paragraphs,” learn to see revision in a positive light; remember that readers do not usually know what you planned to include; and see that a merely good piece of description can be transformed into a memorable one by cutting away what disguises it.


About the Book
When asked by the Paris Review what compelled him to rewrite the ending of A Farewell to Arms 39 times, Ernest Hemingway replied, “Getting the words right.” His answer echoes what every successful writer knows: The secret to all good writing is revision.

For more than twenty years, Getting the Words Right has helped writers from all professions rewrite, revise, and refine their writing. In this new edition, author Theodore Cheney offers 39 targeted ways you can improve your writing, including how to:

  • create smooth transitions between paragraphs
  • correct the invisible faults of inconsistency, incoherence, and imbalance
  • overcome problems of shifting point of view and style
  • express your ideas clearly by trimming away weak or extra words

You’ll strengthen existing pieces and every future work by applying the three simple principles—reduce, rearrange, and reword. Once the secrets of revision are yours, you’ll be able to follow Hemingway’s lead—and get the words right!

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