On Writing Well

Did I mention I am plowing through a new book?

Called, “On Writing Well: An Informal Guid to Writing Nonfiction” by William Zinsser, it is actually quite intriguing. I saw the old-fashioned binding and yellowed pages on the inside–the copyright is 1976–and I almost turned it down. It sat on my “To Read” pile for over two weeks, was renewed once, and finally reached my priority list. Eleven chapters later, I can’t put it down. Who would have thought a nonfiction book, a writing guide no less, would be so fascinating?

The first six sections covered basic writing topics: the transaction, simplicity, clutter, style, the audience, words, usage and unity, and I would argue these chapters are useful for any writer: fiction or non-fiction. Perhaps that’s why this book is on the “Twenty-Five Books To Read” list.

Part II, however, focuses on specific non-fiction forms and methods, such as writing traveling pieces or memoirs (a section I haven’t read yet). I decided beforehand complete dullness would slither from these pages, but again I was wrong. Writing About Places: The Travel Article was my favorite chapter yet! Zinsser (what a great last name!) says, “Never be afraid to write about a place that  you think has had every last word written about it; no place has. It’s not your place until you write about it.” I like that. It makes me want to write about my places, so you can see them too.

Hereafter, I abdicate my title, “Book Critic,” and merely call myself “Student.” I have much to learn.

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2 thoughts on “On Writing Well

    • You’re welcome! I hope you find it useful–Zinsser has been encouraging to me in a clear, helpful way, and I hope he is the same to you. Many blessings for your memoir writing!

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