These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image caption William Zinsser working in his office in mid-Manhattan Multi million-selling author and writing coach William Zinsser has died in New York, aged Zinsser died at his Manhattan home after a brief illness, said his wife, Caroline Fraser Zinsser. His book On Writing Well became a standard in the classroom, and an essential text for people trying to sharpen their prose.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! William Noble August 21, Some years ago the fine short story writer Raymond Carver offered recollections about learning to write from teacher and novelist John Gardner.
Nothing vague or blurred, no smoky-glass prose … He made me see that absolutely everything was important in a short story. It was of consequence where the commas and periods went.
His prose was tight and emphatic, and his phrases never dangled or were superfluous. His craftsmanship honed his work to its essence. Sentence structure and punctuation were crucial, the proper word was essential, and what was omitted as important as what was inserted.
Which brings us to adverbs and adjectives. Clearly, Carver would cast a suspicious eye on these forms of speech because many times they add little to what is already on the page.
Frequently, they are not important, and in a short story, that means they have no business there. But such cosmetic touch-up often turns out to be redundant or simply uninspiring. He whispered to her lovingly… She zoomed around the oval speedily… He stuttered haltingly… In the last two instances, the verbs themselves provide the acting and the emotion in the sentences; the adverbs merely underscore what the verb has already described.
These are redundancies, and they do little for the prose except to give it an awkward cast. The stone sank quickly… The fire truck bell clanged loudly… How else would a stone sink but quickly? How else would a fire truck bell clang but loudly? The key is to gauge the relationship of the adverb and the verb it modifies: Are they saying essentially the same thing?
If so, there is a redundancy, and the adverb should come out—fast! They also encourage lazy writing. Far more dramatic would be to write: He whispered words of love … my sweet, dear lover, my angel … he purred his contentment, his joy … No adverb here, and the drama is enhanced.
And who could blame these same readers for laying the book aside? Not with adjectives, though. These suffer the same general malady as adverbs—usually they are too numerous, they clutter up our writing, and they can turn a deft phrase into a ponderous mass. The house had an empty feeling to it, the air stale with undefined kitchen odors … This is a tight, dramatic description.
The dark, dreary house had an empty, suspicious feel to it, the thick air stale and sour with undefined, scary kitchen odors … Do all these adjectives add much at all? But note the other bits of overwriting: Mark Twain had it right: Decorate that noun some more, your fragile self-confidence hears.
Try negative attention, the kind that might push the reader away from the prose.
Read the words without adjectives … Now read them with the adjectives inserted. Is anything more provided by including the adjectives? Why the adjectives, then?Jul 28, · William Zinsser on Writing: Harnessing the World W Dispatches from Spain 9 'On the Town' “Clutter,” the writer-editor instructed, I noted that I was influenced by writers I was reading and admired when I first set about training myself to write better.
Zinsser insisted on several occasions, “We all need models. September 20, September 20, William Zinsser On Writing Well The Classic Guide to Writing Non Fiction On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice its clarity and the warmth of its style It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through.
On writing well: an informal guide to writing nonfiction. [William Zinsser] -- This is a book for people who want to learn to write. It's also a book for people in every kind of job who have to do some writing just to get through the day. Rent textbook On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by Zinsser, William - Price: $ Enter your email address to receive your offer!
its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost. “Fighting clutter is like fighting weeds-the writer is always slightly behind,”-- William Zinsser.
#Weed #Fighting #Clutter “What I want to do is to make people laugh so that they'll see things seriously.”-- William Zinsser. #Work #Laughing #People “Write about small, self-contained incidents that are still vivid in your memory. Top quotes by William Zinsser.
Write about small, self-contained incidents that are still vivid in your memory. Clutter is the official language used by corporations to hide their mistakes. Votes: 0. Dare to tell the smallest of stories if you want to generate large emotions. To write a good memoir you must become the editor of your own.