Bugs In Writing

Bugs In Writing presents 150 descriptive(rather than prescriptive) principles about debugging your writing. She presents each principle in a problem/solution format with plenty of examples. The book is lucidly written and fun too.

Lyn Dupre is an editor at AddisonWesley who frequently works with authors such as DonKnuth, BrianKernighan, FredBrooks, PatrickHenryWinston and others.

I just started to read this book and I am already hooked. Any more comments on the book? -- ToddCoram

Based on Todd's recommendation above, I picked up BugsInWriting last week. After reading the first dozen "chapters", I heartily second his recommendation. BugsInWriting gets at some thorny (and non-obvious) issues in technical writing in a way that is both precise and fun. It goes well beyond the "how to prepare a technical manuscript" genre, with principles that can easily be applied to much of our day-to-day written communication. -- DaveSmith

Postscript: Well, make that a slightly-less-than-hearty, but still positive, recommendation. A few of the examples seem contradictory or unclear, and the author's tone occasionally borders on preachy, but BugsInWriting has made it onto my "keep within easy reach" list.

It's a good book in many ways, oddly split between usage examples and "how-to"s for technical writers. My wife (a devotee of copyediting) has already found a few mistakes/misconceptions in usage recommendations (e.g. the discussion of split infinitives), but feels the book is generally sound.

Personally, I'd have preferred more of the "how-to" information and less usage information, but then I have my wife and her collection of usage guides as a resource. [She will answer any usage question at a low, low price of $40/hr, or a portion of one of her favorite meals. Cajun food can be sent to:....]

-- Ken Meltsner

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