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BOOK REVIEW: "Do I Make Myself Clear?" by Harold Evans

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Book Review: “Do I make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters” by Harold Evans (Little, Brown and Company) 2017

If writers were Jedis and pens were sabers laser, author Harold Evans would be Master Yoda and I would be merely an apprentice. 

In reviewing Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters, it was difficult to find any critiques. As a Frenchman writing weekly stories in English, I know how challenging it is to write well- but it is not impossible. 

By adding dozens of stories of famous events analyzed with a scalpel and a touch of humor, Evans kept me reading the book until the end. He monopolized my attention making it easier to learn. I can already add new words to my writer’s lexical: infiltrators, flesh-eaters and zombies.

Vigilance and self-discipline are necessary if you want to stay away from ugly words and phrases. Writing is an Art.

Far from only shows me the gap existing between me and a professional in English literature as Evans.  Do I Make My Self Clear? encouraged me to become a better writer by showing me the path to perfection.

Of course, it may have been easier for me to simply obtain a degree in journalism at the University of Oklahoma, write at the OU Daily, then three years later get a job at the Oklahoman, writing story after story. A common path for a common life. But school and industrial journalism are boring and life is meant to be fun.

There is more than one way to achieve a goal- mine is to do it on my own. Do I Make Myself Clear? provides essential keys that will improve your writing. The book is not an end in itself, it's more a renewal of the language of Shakespeare, an attempt to preserve before social media’s writing style disfigures this beautiful language.

While French being my primary language can pose more difficulties for me than a native English speaker, it can also be an advantage. Yes, it is true that Americans will have a certain advantage for words that are from the US and Anglo-Saxon roots but words that are originally from ancient French or directly from Latin, I have a certain advantage. In today's English language, more than half of the words have a French origin. But still, complicated words are not anymore the prerogative, “keep it simple to keep readers motivated till the end” is my new motto.

Words have a powerful effect on people. Words can lead to war, love, and enlightenment. Words can kill. Words are more powerful than ever. Don’t let yourself being continuously misunderstood. Just read it. Do I make myself clear?

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About the Author

Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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