Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Book Review - Writing Outstanding Opinion Pieces


Writing Outstanding Opinion Pieces

By: Nancy Loewen
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: August 2015
ISBN: 978-1467779050
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 16, 2015

Opinions, opinions, opinions! Perhaps if you're the mega-opinionated sort of person, you just might want to share some of them in your writing. You could decide to write a commentary about something you may be passionate about. The most "effective commentaries often start with a specific incident or example and put into a larger context." Not into writing a commentary? You can still let your voice be heard by writing a letter to the editor or perhaps you could write a review about a product you've used or a book you've read.

The first thing you'll have to do is select a topic. You may have plenty of opinions, but selecting one to write about could be rather difficult. If you do decide to go outside your comfort level and write a commentary, you'll need to remember that "commentaries don't have to be negative." Well-researched, but not always negative. Get that notebook out and start jotting down your thoughts! After you start writing them down, you may learn "how to pay attention to your thoughts and experiences - and then connect your ideas to what others may be experiencing."

Can you just spout off what you want in an opinion piece? You could, but "not if you want to be taken seriously." As with most types of writing, especially opinion-based, you'll need to gather evidence to support your work, research your topic, and document those sources. If you're planning on writing a review, check out some of the questions the author suggests you think about. For example, you could ask yourself, "Which scene in your book had [me] turning pages as fast as [I] could?" In this book, you'll also learn about structuring your work, making an outline, the "essentials" of good writing, drafting your works, and you'll learn many more effective tools that will help you write those "outstanding opinion pieces!"

Young wannabe writers have lots of opinions, but putting them on paper can be quite another story...almost literally. This book is a great motivator and included are several sidebars with additional suggestions, including those from established writers. For example, Colbert King from the 'Washington Post' suggests young writers "don't shy away from the personal angle." Special emphasis on topics is indicated by bold print. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, suggestions for making a living by writing, source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: This is an excellent guide that will help and encourage young writers to voice their opinions.