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On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction Paperback – 5 April 2016
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"On Writing Well is a bible for a generation of writers looking for clues to clean, compelling prose." –New York Times
A beloved classic, this definitive volume on the art of writing nonfiction celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.
On Writing Well, which grew out of a course that William Zinsser taught at Yale, has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity, and for the warmth of its style. It is a book for anybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts, or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you both fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished practitioner. With over a million copies in print, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valued resource for writers and would-be writers.
“Not since The Elements of Style has there been a guide to writing as well presented and readable as this one. A love and respect for the language is evident on every page.” -- Library Journal
About the Author
William Zinsser is a writer, editor and teacher. He began his career on the New York Herald Tribune and has since written regularly for leading magazines. During the 1970s he was master of Branford College at Yale. His 17 books, ranging from baseball to music to American travel, include the influential Writing to Learn and Writing About Your Life. He teaches at the New School in New York.
- ASIN : 0060891548
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780060891541
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060891541
- Reading age : 15 - 18 years
- Best Sellers Rank: 5,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My favourite part is that dedicated to the basics: what not to do when writing, and specifically how to avoid, as the author calls it, the "clutter", with many examples of that "clutter": how banks, insurance companies, large corporations and, most obviously and constantly, the politians use the language not to explain, but to conceal what they mean, or to look more important; and all by means of using longer (and generally useless, many times gramaically incorrect) expressions. Thus: the very silly "at the present time" instead of the plain yet far more correct "now". There are an array of examples like this one.
As I said in the title of this review: a must have for anyone who reads or write; for anyone.
Having studied Journalism a decade ago I wish I'd had this book then. It taught me everything I should have learnt but was never taught. It demonstrates the subtleties of using the English language. Which, it seems to me, that between school, college and uni they expect you to learn but never actually teach. It took me only a week to read this book and I am a more confident writer as a result. There are some chapters that are specific to particular types of writing such as sports, or memoir so you can skip these if not suitable for your needs. This book is written by a journalist and so it is geared around getting you to write snappier more engaging pieces that would suit the news or feature stories. I wouldn't recommend it for academic writing so much.
My only criticism is Zinsser's attempt to wipe out the semi-colon in favour of the dash. How will we wink then ;)