William Zinsser On Writing Well

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction


William Zinsser’s On Writing Well - Bryn Mawr College

Zinsser describes writing as a “personal transaction” between the author and the reader resulting in two special qualities: humanity and warmth.

“Clutter is the disease of American writing,” Zinsser writes. “We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constrictions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.”

William Zinsser, Author Of 'On Writing Well,' Dies : NPR

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.

Zinsser, Simplicity - Boise State University

When writers focus on the end product, they can lose sight of what the story is and why they're telling it. Zinsser advises writers to instead focus on the process of writing -- organizing the parts of a story, crafting a lead, making revisions. If you view writing as a process, Zinsser said, the product will take care of itself.

This classic on writing by William Zinsser has been revised and expanded in its 7th edition. This is also the 30th anniversary of the publication of the book. Hundreds of writers have benefited by his teaching.

Even after 7 revisions, Zinsser still stresses the 4 basic principles of writing:
(1) clarity
(2) simplicity
(3) brevity
(4) humanity

Zinsser reminds writers that their primary purpose to write "something that people will want to read."

The master has spoken