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  • Great post Chris. I have ‘Line by Line’ and I agree it is a great book. I think too many writers assume they can write and so when they talk about improving their writing they fall into the trap of discussing books on character and setting and plot and dialogue. Those kind of books will improve the structure of your writing but not the writing itself. To improve your writing one needs to look at books about improving how to write a sentence. Accordingly I thoroughly recommend the following books: ‘How to Write a Sentence’ by Stanley Fish, ‘The Art & Styling of Sentences’ by Ann Longknife and K DSullivan, ‘Building Great Sentences’ by Brooks Landon, ‘The Elements of Eloquence’ by Mark Forsyth and ‘Writing Tools’ by Roy Peter Clark . I have all these and they are great books to make one a better writer.
    The Longknife book I got in a secondhand bookshop and it looks like it might be a school or college text because it has 20 different sentence structures and each has exercises to practice them. The Landon book is a college course he teaches and there is a ‘Great Courses’ version on video that I also have which is a bit dry but will really help one write better. Finally the Forsyth book is brilliant. it is a lot of short chapters explaining what appears to be complex structures of the English language but is actually explanations of why and how famous quotes from Shakespeare, the Bible and many other classics work and how we mere mortals can reproduce the effect in our own writing. I think this book is an essential for any small room in the house library.
    Sorry to go on but I believe that whilst plot, character arc, dialogue etc. are all essential tools to write good stories; I believe writing great sentences is the key to longevity in the writing and self-publishing industry.

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