Customer Reviews for

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Non-Fiction

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted January 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Helped Me to Receive Better Grades On My College Papers

    I bought this book to help me write better English papers. I had no idea how many bad writing habits I needed to change! <BR/><BR/>By simply doing away with embellishments and choosing concise and energetic verbs dramatically boosted the quality of my college papers. There are many other suggestions too: organization, structure, diction, using a thesaurus--but I was amazed at how much better my papers read (and grades improved) just by changing those two things I mentioned at the outset. <BR/><BR/>What I discovered is that writing is a process and not an end to itself. Possibly the greatest writers would probably want to change their published works if they were able to. This just means that we are all changing, growing individuals. <BR/><BR/>As a reference/how-to book, it reads very easily. Using examples from well-established writers, William Zinsser drives home his ideas in illustrative ways that will leave you entertained and informed. <BR/><BR/>Highly recommended.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good read

    I'm always looking for books that are targeted towards writing on an advanced level since most books are for the high school crowd that need definitions on adverbs and essay outlines. Zinsser makes this book a fun read and it made me think more about my writing technique outside of boring "black and white" nonfiction technique. He gives a lot of great writing examples and since I know he's a teacher, a lot of the information he gives seems like the criteria he's looking for when grading a paper. This book has been a great guide for me.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good read for all writers

    This is written for non-fiction but as a fiction writer, I have found it invaluable. Zinsser's words stay the course. I highly recommend this for anyone considering a writing career.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book for driving you to write your own personal memoir

    This book is an excellent book for giving examples from his own writing of memoir, as well as tips and suggestions for how to keep your writing from being too wordy or generic.

    Zinsser writes to convey that simplicity is best and missing from most writing today. Authors should stand for their style, but not lose their audience in their wordiness.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    As a college student there is no doubt that every student should read this book. You will become a better writer if you read it. Zinsser not only writes on many topics and styles, but also gives interesting examples and demonstrates how you can apply his ideas into your own work. This book is a great book for any writer, from high school to retirement. His intellect and humor make a great combination and are reasons why this book is so easy to read and learn from. If you want to be a better writer, this book is for you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2007

    A CLASSIC GUIDE TO WRITING WELL

    On Writing Well, by William Zinsser, is meant to compliment The Elements of Style by Stunk and White. In Zinsser¿s own words ¿The Elements of Style is a book of pointers and admonitions: do this, don¿t do that. What it didn¿t address was how to apply those principles to the various forms that nonfiction writing and journalism can take.¿ Although the book is organized in four parts, the content could really be summarized in two categories: · Writing principals, methods, and attitudes · Guidelines for specific forms of nonfiction, including travel, humor, business, sports, arts, memoirs, and family history. Subjects addressed include: rewriting, craft vs. art, humanity and warmth, clutter, simplicity, finding a style, clichés, rhythm, unity, tone, and attitude. All of these are covered with the insight of a successful writer having decades of experience. The author works some biographical information and experiences into the text, but the focus of the material is on writing well. Given that the first edition was in 1976, some of the examples and attitudes are dated, but they also add to the charm of the book. No recaps or exercises are included at the end of the chapters, but an index is provided for easy reference. As the subtitle indicates, the book is specifically directed at nonfiction writing, but many of the concepts also apply to fiction. With over a million copies sold, and in its thirtieth anniversary edition, much of the information has already been worked into other writing guides. As envisioned by Zinsser, On Writing Well compliments The Elements of Style. Together, they make a great combination.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2006

    Review of book

    The book outlines the proper ways to write nonfiction. Zinsser stresses the importance of simplifying words and using words that one would normally. The point of writing is to express you and sell your topic this establishes a writing style. Zinsser states ¿The difference between an active verb style and a passive-verb style-in clarity and vigor-is the difference between life and death for a writer.¿ ¿He was seen running by Jane¿ is weaker than stating ¿Jane saw him run.¿ The latter is stronger and shorter. There is less confusion in a shorter precise sentence than a longer one. Zinsser states that most of the time writers write too much. It is clutter if you write ¿he screamed loudly.¿ If you scream it is loudly there is not reason to mention ¿loudly¿. Overall the book was written well and was useful.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    Good stuff. I liked it.

    I write fiction, but this book was still helpful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    Zinsser's text is a valuable tool in learning to be a better writer. As a student, I found this book to be influential and informative. I can identify with Zinsser's advice to rid writing of clutter; I have been doing this for years. I was skeptical about reading a book about writing well, primarily because I did not know what to expect other than boredom. I discovered quite the opposite; his tips, sections and demonstrative style were interesting throughout the text as well as easy to understand and apply in my own writing. I have implemented much of what Zinsser discusses in his book both in school and everyday life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    On Writing Well Well Have Made My Writing Well, Better

    To the point, straight up, no bs guide on how the art of writing. I never realized before how much style and other factors can effect the enjoyability of my writing. Ever since I finished the book, I notice almost immediately the methods expressed therein in other pieces that I am reading, whether they be novels, articles, essays, or even text-books.
    If you want to open up your scope of creativity, read this book. If I could be any more cliche in saying that if you want to become a better writer, read this book. Get it. It's good.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    outstandingly informative and stimulating

    I wish I had read this book years ago. It's very well-written, informative, and amusing. Don't miss it, if you have any idea or aspiration for writing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    Writing well

    This is a good book to assist students in the writing process.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    Truly an Exceptional Book!

    This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in writing and publishing to read and enjoy. I just love it! I started reading this book during a journalism class. I learned more from the book than from the journalism teacher. Every story the teacher had a problem with, I had published in my original writing without changing one word. The editors of the newspapers publishing the stories also loved them. Additionally, the audience and readers of the articles are just elated and happy to read them. This book has really opened my eyes regarding the writing process, teachers, and editors. I have learned how to fight back and win! I have also picked up some sound advice on enjoyment and confidence, and how to deal with tyranny and fear. This is truly an inspirational book. It is easy to read. The chapters are not long. There is humor in the pages, and I truly enjoyed the learning experience. I will cherish it and read it again from time to time. Thank you William Zinsser!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    In order to improve your grammar and writing skills, I recommend reading 'On Writing Well' by William Zinsser. The book highlights a variety of techniques in four parts. His writing style is very personal and his use of clarity makes the book a very easy read. Zinsser uses his own personal examples of what NOT to do as well as his own personal advice on how to improve each sentence that you write.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2003

    For Fiction Writers Too!

    I don't know why this book is so relegated to nonfiction writers. Fiction writers will benefit greatly from Zinsser's guidance as well, to learn to focus their work, fix their grammar and dump all those adjectives that send their work to the slush piles! A must read for fiction writers too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2002

    Well written advice

    This book helped me with my attempt to begin a short story. Zinsser assisted me through my thought process. I would recommend this book to all new writers like myself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2000

    An Enduring Classic

    I first taught from this book in the early 80's, and the latest edition now serves students in my online course On Writing Well: A Composition Sampler. Zinsser inspires budding writers with snippets of great nonfiction to exemplify his no-nonsense instruction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    S.K.

    Sorry. I didn't have enough time on my hands.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2013

    Ironically for a book dealing with writing well, the overview st

    Ironically for a book dealing with writing well, the overview states &quot;...with more than a million copies sole...&quot;

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Firefly Ember Serenity: A True Story Chapter1

    |__ __|'m awake. Awake I am. Where am I? I get up and look
    __| |__ around. To my surprise, I find a pretty golden shecat.
    |______|I hear her talking about a "new kit" and "Rosiekit". Would that be me? As I try to get up, a handsome black tom kit is behind me and pounces on me. "Hello there Rosiekit.." He purred in a loving tone. "Welcome to Blazeclan.." I looked at him with my jade green eyes. "What? I'm Rosiekit..?" I mewed back in surprise. "Yes, we think you are going to be the new leader..." I wondered. Why would I be the next leader? I'm way too young! Doesn't anyone agree..? Three moons passed and the golden shecat who said "New kit" was beating me until I cried late into the night. "Someone.. s-save my horrible l-life..." I chanted every night. But that was right before the cruel war. Clans abandoned kits- including me- so we can form a army and prove we were stronger. And well, we did. We turned on the clans and grew our own powers. And this is just the beginning of my fabulous, but bloody life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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