'On Writing Well' by William Zinsser: The Review

Start with a fact or a shocking statement, they always say. But I won't.

I've always wondered who are 'they' ? I have never see them, never met them, never listened to them. Still whenever I try to write something they whisper in my ear. And they are very concerned about my writing.

First I thought that this is my intuition and every writer has it. Valid point.

But every time I'm in the middle of an article, they just vanish into the thin air.

They always come to me in the beginning and ending of a piece.

Now after long sessions of self-reflection and pensive thinking I've come to the point that 'They' are the people I always had around me. Writers, youtubers, teachers, my mentors, a guy blogging in some corner of the world.

They all follow some common rules around writing. And they are more concerned with the lead and the ending.

They are fascinated with this idea of starting and ending a piece in a certain way.

Long story short they want it to start with a bang and end with a question. Which is true to some extent but it does not work every time. Nevertheless, if your main body is trash who gives a damn about the ending.

After I had this conversation with myself, I wanted 'The classical to writing Nonfiction'.

I googled my way up and found it. 'On writing Well' by William Zinsser.

This book is divided into four parts:





This is what I wanted. A step by step guide that can give me a holistic view of what goes into a good piece of writing. I also wanted to have lots and lots of examples. This book has plenty of them.

Now if you are someone who has realized that typing is not only about the lead and the ending. There are a lot of elements that you need to learn about then this book is for you. It talks about the transaction, simplicity, clutter, style, audience, words, usage, Unity, attitudes and yes the lead and the ending. Every chapter contains enough good examples to have a clear understanding or vision of what Mr William is talking about. The author takes us through a number of poorly written pieces as well that every serious nonfiction writer should avoid. One may or may not like the comments he has on well known writers like Ernest Hemingway and Orwell but this guy has some legit points, every aspiring writer should think about.


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