265 Troubleshooting Strategies for Writing Nonfiction, by Barbara Fine Clouse. New York: McGraw Hill, 2005. 178 pp. $14.95. ISBN: 0-07-144539-0.
In 265 Troubleshooting Strategies for Writing Nonfiction, longtime writing teacher, Barbara Fine Clouse, teaches hundreds of strategies for solving the most common problems writers encounter. She divides the process of writing into four major tasks: Prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. She guides you in a “friendly” way through the writing process, providing many techniques and time-saving strategies along the way.
Clouse is an excellent companion on this journey of writing instruction. Each section contains excellent examples for the writing of any piece of nonfiction. For example, she encourages the reader, “Do not feel discouraged if your drafting yields a very ragged piece of writing. Rough though it is, that draft is useful raw material that you can refine (27).” Another good insight is the distinction between revising and editing. Revising the rough draft concerns “content, organization, and expression of ideas (61)” ; editing the draft deals with correcting “grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization (105).”
265 Troubleshooting Strategies will provide the tools needed to successfully complete any nonfiction writing assignment. It will help the writer to go from a blank page to a finished product. Clouse has produced a book that would be especially helpful for college students. It is written at an introductory level with clear prose.