I put Zinsser’s book down, and I didn’t plan on writing anymore about the Bits and Pieces chapter, but as I continued reading, I started laughing. I wanted to remember some of this for later. So here it is, short and sweet!
Concept Nouns — “Don’t get caught holding a bag that doesn’t have anything in it but abstract nouns. You’ll sink to the bottom of the lake and never be seen again” (120).
Creeping Nounism — “It no longer rains; we have precipitation activity or a thunderstorm probability situation. Please, let it rain” (120).
Writing is not a Contest — “I’ve often found that the hares who write for the paper are overtaken by the tortoises who move studiously toward the goal of mastering the craft. The same fear cripples freelance writers, who see the work of other writers appearing in magazines while their own keeps returning in the mail. Forget the competition and go at your own pace. Your own contest is with yourself” (125).
Breeziness — This line does not capture this section’s point, but it personally stood out to me. “[The writer] is not trying to ingratiate himself with the reader. He knows that if he pleases himself, his readers will also enjoy what he has to say” (129).
Eloquence — “Remember the uses of the past when you tell your story” (140).