On Writing Well

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"Writing isn't a skill that some people are born with and others aren't, like a gift for art or music. Writing is thinking on paper, or talking to someone on paper. If you can think clearly, or if you talk to someone about things you know and care  about, you can write --- with confidence and enjoyment."

    The quotation above is self-explanatory. Anybody can be writer as long as it is clearly express on paper. William Zinsser's ON WRITING WELL: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction, is the collection of his tips and advice on how to become an effective writer.

   The author wants to convey to his readers that his book is for those who want to learn to write. It is also for those people whose job is in line with writing. His purpose in writing this book is to teach good English that can be put to those uses, or to any uses. He doesn't teach good nonfiction or good journalism.

  The book was (re)published on its 5th edition in 1994 by HarperCollins Publishers. Though it's a bit obsolete (as may sound), but its content can never be outdated. The book is divided into two parts. First part discusses the Principles of writing. The second part discusses the Forms and Methods of writing. The author is good in organizing the topics in his book. He divided it into two parts to separate the two main points he wants to suggest to his readers. He gives a well presented introduction to give an overview on what's the proceeding chapters would like.

  Obviously the book belongs to the genre of Self-help books. Unlike the usual Self-help books that we encounter, this book is a practical guide to become an effective writer. It helps the readers to think clearly with confidence.

  The book is written in first person point of view. The author is like a personal mentor that gives advice to the readers. His advice is base on his personal experience as writer and some usual tips in writing that we have known. His experience as a writer, editor, and a teacher gives justice to it. He began his career with The New York Herald Tribune and has long been a free-lance writer for leading magazines. He taught writing at Yale and have written 15 books such as SPEAKING OF JOURNALISM, AMERICAN PLACES, and the influential WRITING TO LEARN.

  The book is not too technical or too colloquial. It has an informal approach yet in a respectable tone. It has simple, clear, and straightforward presentation and uses simple and appropriate phrases and vocabularies that can be understood by everyone. It is imply on its cover design of the book. Its minimalist design gives you an idea of what's the book is about.

  I have no disagreement on the points, advice or ideas presented by the author. His clear, simple and straightforward approach to his readers makes the book comprehensible even to the average readers (as consumer). He justifies every point he made and give examples to illustrate his point.

  The book helps me in gaining more confidence in writing. It helps me think clearly on the subject that I want to tackle. It will make you unique and help you stand out among the others. If you find a copy of it in your library or in bookstore, grab or buy it and start to read it. You'll never know how far this book can help you.


Special thanks to Sir Bronx Hebrona    



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This is the blog of G.V. Alfasain (or popularly known as Yadu Karu) where he shares his thoughts about current events, sustainable development and pop culture. He also shares success stories of modern day heroes to inspire his readers. The author hopes that this blog may contribute change in the (Philippine) society.
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