On Writing Well

On Writing Well

The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

by William Knowlton Zinsser
Publisher: HarperCollins
30th Anniversary, ©2001, ISBN: 9780060891541
Trade Paperback, 308 pages
Current Retail Price: $15.99
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On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. 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 fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sold, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.

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  Important For Any Writer of Any Type
Miss Pickwickian of Oregon, 3/23/2011
This book is excellent for both non-fiction and fiction writers. He's a little condescending to fiction at times. If you can forgive him, what he says can greatly improve your fiction writing.
The first two sections of the book (Principles and Methods) were some of the most direct and obviously applicable writing guidelines I've heard.

I think all fiction writers should also know how to write clear non-fiction. Even if they don’t use non-fiction frequently On Writing Well has a lot of wisdom for both.

The idea that probably affected me the most was on writing simply. We should write simply (not stupidly, but directly) and to do so, we must know how to think simply. This was very good point for me. Sometimes I like to just wonder about something. (Which is probably good about some things.) But we should learn how to think directly about complicated issues too.

This made me think of G.K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis. They tackle hard subjects and make them simple and direct. That's why they are so quotable.

I highly, highly recommend it for any person wanting to write anything. :-)