On Writing Well (30th Anniversary Edition) by William Zinsser, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
On Writing Well

On Writing Well

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by William Zinsser
     
 

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Wrtten as a complement to Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style, William Zinsser's On Writing Well is a helpful reference guide on how to write about a wide variety of topics, from business and technology to sports and the arts. In chapters such as "Simplicity," "Clutter," "Style," and  "Words," the author describes

Overview

Wrtten as a complement to Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style, William Zinsser's On Writing Well is a helpful reference guide on how to write about a wide variety of topics, from business and technology to sports and the arts. In chapters such as "Simplicity," "Clutter," "Style," and  "Words," the author describes the tools and the writer's craft and how to use them effectively. This book's insights and advice can help every writer to become a better writer.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060154097
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/28/1985
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
224

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On Writing Well 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 78 reviews.
LennonFan More than 1 year ago
I bought this book to help me write better English papers. I had no idea how many bad writing habits I needed to change!

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.

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.

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.

Highly recommended.
whspatron More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this as a young, impressionable black teenager. I thought this spoke to me in a way that was unimaginable. Cannot recommend this high enough.
engauge More than 1 year ago
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.
KarenMcGrath More than 1 year ago
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.
Dfculver More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
wkl More than 1 year ago
I write fiction, but this book was still helpful.
BillA More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Would read it over and over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book wasvery helpful and encouraging. It has many tips and I found much of my book highlighted and full of notes. This is a book I will go back to often.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can someone plz lend this to me
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BlindJudo More than 1 year ago
Compliments to Wm Zinsser for providing a road map, suggestions, examples and direction for those aspiring and current nonfiction writers. I found the book most helpful not only as a review but helpful direction. It's a must have book On Writing Well for all novice or experienced writers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating and horrifying look at racial prejudice in the 1920`s south told through the eyes of an unlikely eyewitness - a self-educated black intellectual. Wright`s stark depiction of the sordid and cruel worlds of both blacks and whites make riveting reading.