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On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction [Hardcover]

William Zinsser


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Book Description

1 Jan 1901 On Writing Well
A revised and updated edition of one of the most successful guides to writing ever published (one million copies sold).

A Classic in its Field, On Writing Well is the Indispensable reference tool for anyone who writes, wants to learn to write, or needs to do some writing to get through the day -- as almost everybody does. Illustrated with examples of superb writing, the book covers a variety of subject areas, from travel, memoir, and science writing to business, sports, humor, and the arts. This expanded and updated edition features revised chapters, fresh examples of good writing, and two completely new chapters. One new chapter, "Enjoyment, Fear, and Confidence", urges writers to live interesting lives and to trust their general intelligence. The other, "The Tyranny of the Final Product", counsels writers not to try to visualize the complete article, but to focus on earlier decisions of selection, construction, and voice that will eventually let them know what their piece is about. Written by a master writer, editor, and teacher, On Writing Well is the writing book people swear by and love to recommend.

"On Writing Well belongs on any shelf of serious reference works for writers -- along with, say, Fowler's Modern English Usage and Strunk and White's The Elements of Style". -- New York Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring instructions on simple, clear, and strong writing. 16 Dec 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Full of sensible advice about non-fiction writing, "On
Writing Well" is also -- as it should be -- very
well written. Zinsser demands that writing be simple, clear,
and strong, and he follows his own advice. Zinsser's tips on
interviewing, research, and subject matter are first-rate.
The best parts, however, are about living the life of a
writer and about writing itself. Writers should use "On
Writing Well" not as a reference, but as an inspiration
and an example.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiration to writers and readers 2 Dec 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a book I try to read once a year. As a copywriter, I find that a review of Zinsser's analyses and examples refreshes my approach to writing . . . and thinking. And he constantly reinforces my reading choices, bringing me back to re-reading E.B. White and John McPhee and reveling in their turn of a phrase or nuggets of brilliant prose. This is an important book for everyone who wants or needs to improve his or her writing. And it's a must for those who want their writing to be read. Whether you write simple business memos or you're attempting to write memorable copy, this book will give you a fresh viewpoint. It's one of those eye-openers that will have you saying, "Oh, yeah, now I get it!"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff. 6 Aug 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is good stuff. William Zinsser points to where you want to go, and sends you on your way.

Informal. Avuncular. Crusty. Zinsser makes it clear that he is a writer first, and a teacher second. In fact, he doesn't so much think that writing can be taught as he does think that writing can be learned. It's hard work, but worth it if you have something to say.

In just over 200 pages, Zinsser gives you the tools, lays out the principles, and tells you the stories about how he and others have stumbled along their own paths. You take it from there
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic in Writing Guidelines 24 May 2008
By Jeffery L. Vidrine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This small tome instructs and reminds one of the essentials of writing in a way to be understood. Directness and simplicity are the key concepts promoted by Zissner. I highly recommend this book for all authors and editors.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glad my class required it 14 Feb 2014
By Cynic_Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is full of really great advice. However ironically I'm not a fan of their writing style (too familiar and rambles a bit). Such is life.
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