On Writing Well by William Zinsser

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Summary

My favorite nonfiction writing book.

In-depth coverage of the mechanics and methods of great nonfiction writing, the different types - business, travel, interviewing, etc - and attitudes like voice, confidence, and overcoming fear.

Excellent handbook for new and seasoned writers, bloggers and journalists alike.

If you are interested in fiction writing, On Writing is as brilliant as it is hilarious.

Notes

Introduction

My purpose is to make myself and my experience available.  If readers connect with my book it’s because they don’t think they’re hearing from an English professor.  They’re hearing from a working writer.

I don’t know what still newer marvels will make writing twice as easy in the next 30 years.  but I do know they won’t make writing twice as good.  That will still require plain old hard thinking - what E.B. White was doing in his boathouse - and the plain old tools of the English language.

Part 1 Principles

1 The Transaction

2 Simplicity

3 Clutter

4 Style

5 The Audience

6 Words

7 Usage

Part II Methods

8 Unity

9 The Lead and the Ending

10 Bits & Pieces

ADVERBS
ADJECTIVES
LITTLE QUALIFIERS
PUNCTUATION
MOOD CHANGERS
CONTRACTIONS
WRITING IS NOT A CONTEST
THE QUICKEST FIX
PARAGRAPHS
REWRITING
TRUST YOUR MATERIAL
GO WITH YOUR INTERESTS

PART III Forms

12 Writing About People:  The Interview

13 Writing About Places:  The Travel Article

14 Writing About Yourself:  The Memoir

15 Science and Technology

16 Business Writing:  Writing in Your Job

17 Sports

18 Writing About the Arts:  Critics and Columnists

19 Humor

Part IV Attitudes

20 The Sound of Your Voice

21 Enjoyment, Fear and Confidence

22 The Tyranny of the Final Product

23 A Writer’s Decisions

24 Writing Family History and Memoir

25 Write as Well as You Can

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