From On Writing Well: Part 2

Tips to make your writing sharper and more engaging.

Sharp, concise writing makes readers happy. William Zinsser’s On Writing Well provides a lot of advice on how to shape up, slim down and make your work more engaging.

 

Image by: Steve Rotman / CC 2.0

 

“Verbs are the most important of all your tools.”

 

 

 

“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.”

 

 

 

 

“…clutter is the enemy, whatever form it takes. It slows the reader and robs the writer…”

 

 

“The game is won or lost on hundreds of small details. Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it that shouldn’t be there.”

 

 

 

“…strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”

 

 

 

 

 

“Beware, then of the long word that is no better than the short word…”

 

 

 

“…all careful writers ought to be, looking at every new piece of debris that washes up and asking, “Do we need it?”

 

 

 

“Are you hanging onto something useless because you think it’s beautiful?”

 

 

 

“Surprisingly, often a difficult problem in a sentence can be solved by simply getting rid of it. Unfortunately, this solution is usually the last one that occurs to the writer trying to disentangle himself.”

 

 

 

“If it is interesting to note, make it interesting. Being told something is interesting is the surest way to tempt the reader to find it dull…”

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