I can hardly write the review, I’m so overjoyed to find this book. This is a beautifully written guide to writing, which should serve all audiences well. For myself, the main “Aha!” moment was the Nonfiction as Literature chapter, I’ve been devouring classic fiction for so long, my blinders kept my writerly instincts from considering factual nonfiction writing as “good”. This is, of course, a totally ridiculous opinion to hold. And now I feel I can write anything and make it good and not need to create a virtual fictional world which was my stumbling block.
Despite all appearances, this is a funny, smart, immensely helpful book. Clutch it tightly to your chest if you are a newborn author. Or even a middle aged aspiring one.
Update: great article on Zinsser not really finding his own path until he wrote this.
“It now occurs to me that I didn’t really find my style until I wrote On Writing Well, at the late age of 52. Until then my style more probably reflected who I wanted to be perceived as the urbane columnist and humorist and critic. Only when I started writing as a teacher and had no agenda except to be helpful did my style become integrated with my personality and my character.”