On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction

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9780673993083: On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction

Stressing the importance of strong, clear prose that expresses the writer's personality, this text encourages students to develop their individual voices as writers. Part 1 covers such general principles as clarity, simplicity, and unit, while part 2 applies these principles to different forms of non-fiction writing such as: writing about people and places, writing about one's life, writing on the job, sports writing, travel writing, technical writing, writing humour and writing criticism. This fifth edition has been reorganized to give it a sharper focus.

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Whether you write an occasional professional letter or a daily newspaper column, William Zinsser's On Writing Well should be required reading. Simplicity is Zinsser's mantra: he preaches a stripped-down writing style, strong and clear. He has no patience for excess (most use of adjectives and adverbs, he writes, just adds clutter) or tired phraseology (for instance, he'd like to outlaw all leads involving those "future archaeologists" most often found "stumbl[ing] upon the remains of our civilization"). He recommends that all writers of nonfiction read their work aloud (don't commit something to paper that you wouldn't actually say) and write under the assumption that "the reader knows nothing" (not to be confused with assuming the reader's an idiot). In addition to the chapters on the expected--usage, audience, interviews, leads--Zinsser also focuses on such trouble spots as science and technical writing, business writing, sports, and humor.

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William Knowlton Zinsser
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