From On Writing Well: Part Three

In this final segment of quotes from William Zinsser’s On Writing Well, you’ll find tips and advice on managing your material.


“The most important sentence in any article is the first one.”





“You are writing primarily to entertain yourself, and if you go about it with confidence you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for. If you lose the dullards back in the dust, that’s where they belong.”


“Don’t ever become a prisoner of a preconceived plan.”



“Trust your material if it is taking you into terrain that you didn’t intend to enter but where the vibrations are good.”


“…salvation often lies not in the writer’s style but in some odd fact he was able to discover.”



“Like the minister’s sermon that builds to a series of perfect conclusions that never conclude, an article that doesn’t stop at its proper stopping place is suddenly a drag and therefore, ultimately, a failure.”


“The perfect ending should take the reader slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right to him.”

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