RSS Feed

Wednesday Book Review: On Writing Well

On Writing Well

Title: On Writing Well

Author: William Zinsser

Genre: Non-fiction

Book procurement: Recommended by Angela Meadon.


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 the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental priciples as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sold, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.


As my first non-fiction book review, I have changed the review criteria accordingly but kept the basics, of course. I must say I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book and how influential it has been to my writing.

It is clear that William Zinsser enjoys writing. It comes out in his words and in his style of writing. He, in fact, follows the very advice he’s giving which makes taking the advice that much easier. There is even a section where he has gone back and revised this book and shows what the changes were and why.

“Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.”

What I appreciated most about this book was the number of examples given, across different writing topics you will come across as a non-fiction writer. I think if I wasn’t employed as a Junior Technical Writer, I may have skipped this book simply because I don’t write non-fiction, but I would definitely recommend it whether you’re a non-fiction writer or not. There are some very relevant writing tips that I have applied across my writing.

“Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”

There are numerous topics covered here, from writing a memoir to sports writing to writing about science and technology, and even writing humour. The first section is dedicated to improving writing in general, covering topics such as simplifying your work, removing clutter, understanding and finding your writing style, the words you use and what is the best usage for these words.

“Not every oak has to be gnarled.”

The writing style flows and is enjoyable on so many levels. It feels as though he is sitting with me or in a conference room, giving insight on the writing process. This conversational style of writing makes the book bearable and not feel like a textbook, which I highly appreciate. There’s nothing worse then the drudgery of reading a textbook you really want to enjoy but the writing puts you to sleep.

“One man’s romantic sunrise is another man’s hangover.”

Recommendation: Highly recommended for both fiction and non-fiction writers.


About Nthato Morakabi

Nthato Morakabi is a South African born, published author working as a Technical Writer for Everlytic and a writer for Gamecca Magazine. He has published short stories both internationally and locally, and is hoping to publish a novel in the near future. He is an avid reader, inspired blogger, and an aspiring digital artist.

Any Words to the Writer?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Personal blog

The Parisshian Legacy... And other things

Anything my little heart desires

Young Author

With new Ink.

A.A. Frias

Author of fantasy and young adult fiction

Write for the King

The writings of a Christian teen and her publishing journey

The Ruon Chronicles

Website of fantasy author Carin Marais

Trebles On My Mind

A blog about crochet, knitting, and other stuff

Danger Kit

- Poetry -

Thoughts of a Bored Writer

My writing. Mostly.

lou rasmus

DEAD RED FISH - debut novel on Amazon

Melody Chen




The tears of chained words

The words left unsaid, pouring out as poetry.

The Official Blog of Horror and Fantasy Writer Lionel Ray Green

"Life is horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order."

The girl and death

exploring the deep thoughts of my mind

the retrograde blog

a different kind of evolution

%d bloggers like this: