Monday, June 17, 2024

#Review ~ Mastering the ABCs of Excellent Writing: Creating Vivid and Colorful Stories that Readers Want to Read by Randy C. Dockens & Robert Irvin ~ @RandyCDockens @pumpupyourbook

The authors of this book explain what they wished they had known when they began their writing journeys: rules are made to be broken, but with purposeful intent, and you, not the rules, are what makes your stories unique from all others.

Title: Mastering the ABCs of Excellent Writing
Author: Randy C. Dockens & Robert Irving

Publication Date: April 4, 2024
Pages: 250
Genre: Fiction Writing Reference/Authorship/Writing Skill Reference

The authors of this book (one a writer/author; one an editor) explain what they wished they had known when they began their writing journeys. This book will speed up your writing proficiency and aid your goal of being published with excellent material your readers will enjoy.

Why this book on writing? There are two things we learned the hard way and want you to gather the easy way. One, rules are made to be broken—but you want to break them only with intentional purpose. And two, you, not the rules, are what make your stories, your writing, unique from all others.

We cover various writing techniques and how to make your writing something readers will keep enjoying, but we also help you with the artistic side of writing, meaning what’s inside you, your writing technique, and your brand.

This easy-to-enjoy manual is written in a unique alphabetical style, filled with tips and extra-information boxes at the end of each chapter, and has a number of helpful additions following the final chapter.

My Review:

Anyone aspiring to be a writer should have a copy of Mastering the ABC's of Excellent Writing on their bookshelf. Informative, intuitive, and well-written, Mastering the ABCs provides the rules of writing correctly. That isn't all though. The authors also provide examples about breaking those rules in order to better convey your thoughts, or the thoughts of your characters. Clear and explanatory, Mastering the ABCs will assist you in writing proficiency, clarity, and excellence.

A must-have, not just for authors, but anyone who will be preparing manuscripts, reports, or even college papers. This would have been an amazing resource for me when writing my Master's capstone project. Now, I'll use reference when writing book reviews or writing at my day job.

I was provided a copy of this book.

My Rating:

Purchase Links:

Read a Book Excerpt:

There are many books on writing, so why another one?

What I (Randy) discovered as I began my writing journey was that knowing the rules and applying the rules are not necessarily the same thing. You’ve heard the expression: rules were made to be broken. Well, that is certainly true when writing a book. I wish someone had told me this truth in the beginning. In this book, we aim to tell you some important rules, but just as importantly, we aim to tell you when they can be (gently) broken.

The other thing missing from so many books on writing is you. You are what makes your stories, your writing, unique from all others. We want you to include you in your writing. So we’re giving you what we (Randy as an author, and Bob as an editor) wished we had known and understood when we started our writing journeys. Much of what we say in this book will benefit fiction writers, but almost all aspects can benefit nonfiction writers as well.

If you master everything in this book, will you have a best-seller and start grossing a six-figure income from your books? Unfortunately, no one can guarantee that, and in truth, the answer is likely no. (Books of material have been written on this topic, and a common theory is that it takes seven published books before you begin to make some solid money. That, though, is just a rule of thumb, and maybe that rule also is meant to be broken—or at least bent some—by you.)

If you want to be classified as a good writer and want those who read your work to enjoy your books, then we think this book can help. While there are a lot of science and writing techniques that go into a good piece of literature, there is an art element that is also an integral part of its creation. That’s why no two authors produce identical works. You can give two authors the same story outline and come away with two pieces of literature that have a different twist and may even go in entirely different directions.

The science of the writing, like most of what is in this book, is a key part of that output, but so is the individual creativity of the mind of the author as well. This book will help you with the first part—and hopefully spur you a bit onward in the second. Your imagination is truly the only thing that can help or limit you with that second aspect, however. We aim to assist you with that second part with the lessons in this book. We want this book to help inspire your creativity. These two aspects of writing—given care, diligence, and passion—together will make you an unstoppable force. We hope this book can be an integral part of your journey.

Also, this book cannot contain everything you need to know or will need to learn. Yet it will get you started on the right foot and, we think, save you a great deal of time and effort in what you need to know to produce a quality piece of literature from the outset.

In the end, nothing meaningful from your wonderful mind gets on anyone’s reading stand or nightstand unless you the writer write it. So it starts with writing. And that’s what this book is about.

Meet the Authors:

Dr. Randy C. Dockens has a fascination with science and with the Bible, holds Ph.D. degrees in both areas, and is a man not only of faith and science, but also of creativity. He believes that faith and science go hand in hand without being enemies of each other.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Auburn University he went on to graduate school at Auburn and completed his first doctorate degree in Pharmaceutics. He began his scientific career as a pharmacokinetic reviewer for the Food and Drug Administration and later joined a leading pharmaceutical company as a pharmacokineticist, which is a scientist who analyzes how the human body affects drugs after they have been administered (i.e, absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted).

Through the years, he has worked on potential medicines within several disease areas, including cardiovascular, fibrosis, and immunoscience to seek and develop new and novel medicines in these therapy areas.

He has also had his attention on the academic study of the Bible. He earned a second doctorate in Biblical Prophecy from Louisiana Baptist University after receiving a master’s degree in Jewish Studies from the Internet Bible Institute under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Congdon.

Randy has recently retired from his pharmaceutical career and is spending even more time on his writing efforts. He has written several books that span dystopian, end-time prophecy, science fiction, and uniquely told Bible stories. All his books, while fun to read, are futuristic, filled with science to give them an authentic feel, have a science fiction feel to them, and allows one to learn some aspect of Biblical truth one may not have thought about before. This is all done in a fast-paced action format that is both entertaining and provides a fun read for his readers.

He has also written some nonfiction books as well. One is to show how all humans are connected from God’s viewpoint by looking at biblical prophecy. This book shows how all scripture is connected and inclusive of everyone. In addition, he and his editor have written a book about writing. This book not only addresses the techniques of writing, but what makes writing unique to each author. It conveys not only how to better hone one’s craft of writing but also the brand an author wants to portray. This helps an author make their writing unique as well as captivating for his/her audience. A companion book to this one regarding self-editing techniques will also soon be available.

You can visit Randy’s website at Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram.

Robert Irvin has been a professional writer and editor for his entire adult life. He started in journalism and worked in all levels of newspaper reporting and editing, from the proverbial cub reporter to bureau chief, night city desk editor, and newsroom editor. Under his leadership, the Middletown (Ohio) Journal won several top state newspaper placements in 2003-2004. He has written award-winning pieces for several magazines.

In 2005 he chose publishing and went to Standard Publishing (Cincinnati) where he worked with authors from across the nation and internationally on youth ministry materials for the former Christian-based publisher, which had a rich history serving American and Canadian churches dating to 1869. In 2011, Robert went independent. He helped develop a homeschool curriculum site for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine during a two-year period in which he worked for this trailblazing homeschool organization. He does the majority of his work with Christian Book Services. He has ghostwritten long portions of books for authors and entire books for a World War II veteran’s memoirs (written 2013-2015 at age 89-91!) and a former NFL quarterback’s story of mentoring his high school football star son.

Robert has edited virtually every type of book, from business to novels to theology to sports to memoirs to abuse survival stories, and much more. His credits include scores of books. He has spoken at or served as faculty at various writing conferences.

He enjoys family, running, the outdoors, bad golf (like many, he has the bug, which just won’t go away), a heated game of Scrabble, virtually any sport, and reading any book that even remotely interests him.

Robert has a BA from Ohio State University in Journalism. He and wife Joan have four children. Reach Bob at

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