I like to write: blogs, papers, mediocre bits of fiction that never see the light of day, and even forum discussions. Each of these writings poses its own challenges, and requires its own style. When writing a blog, what is a good opening sentence? (Here I dived right in with "I like to write." Is that too blunt?) What's an acceptable length for a blog, given people's limited attention spans on the internet? (This blog is probably too long.) When to use, and when to avoid, parenthetical phrases? (Avoid, avoid!) When writing a scientific paper, how do you let the introduction flow naturally into the research question? When answering a technical question on a forum, how do you make sure that someone who is already struggling understands your answer?
And, in all cases, how do you avoid mistakes, and express yourself as clearly as possible?
Writing isn't easy, but it's not magic either. Below, in no particular order, are six books that I've personally found very useful in developing my own writing.
( ... )