Good writing snatches you by the collar on its way to the next sentence. The content doesn’t matter. John Quincy Adams’ biography can grip you while the Normandy Invasion rings dull. It all depends on who’s holding the pen, and whether they describe their character as “obstreperous” or “a bulldog with a cocky haircut.”
But anyone who can write a book about writing that’s hard to put down might be the best in the business. If you want to excel at any level as a writer, invest in this:
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction by William Zinsser (320 pages; $9 on Amazon)
Here’s a blurb:
“Few people realize how badly they write. Nobody has shown them how much excess or murkiness has crept into their style and how it obstructs what they are trying to say. If you give me an eight-page article and I tell you to cut it to four pages, you’ll howl and say it can’t be done. Then you go home and do it, and it will be much better.
After that comes the hard part: cutting it to three…
The only important distinction is between good writing and bad writing. Good writing is good writing, whatever form it takes and whatever we call it.”
He’s a magician that shows the audience how every trick is done. And, like most books I read, a friend recommended it. What’s one you couldn’t put down? I’ll jot it on my list.