The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White has been a valuable tool for writers for years. According to Brandi Reissenweber in the July 2013 issue of The Writer, however, it has its detractors. According to them, Strunk and White’s clear and precise rules like “use the active voice” encourage writers to write in a dull, minimalist style. Hmmmmm. The minimalism I can see. Following Strunk and White’s rules can produce spare prose but usually with a punch.
I’ve used Strunk and White for years but not exclusively. As a freelance writer, I’ve had to become familiar with both The Chicago Manual of Style and The AP Stylebook. I strive for clarity in my writing, the use of active verbs, and few adverbs. I want my writing to be a smooth, enjoyable read as well as provocative at times, both fiction and non-fiction.
I’m curious to find out what my readers here think. Do you use Strunk and White? What do you like about their rules and what do you dislike? If you don’t use Strunk and White, what do you use as a style and usage guide?