Good writing is an art.
William Zinsser died last Tuesday. His book On Writing Well is a non-fiction writer’s Bible, although I would argue that it is as useful for fiction writers. I frequently defer to Zinsser’s direction to strike through superfluous phrases and ideas. Most of the time, my original essays and stories are riddled with unnecessary sentences and words. His advice to “simplify, prune and strive for order” is in the back of my mind as I revise.
Writing is difficult enough. Editing and revising so that your writing is clear and meaningful is a further challenge. Frankly, it is impossible for some writers, which is why I am an editor and proofreader. I do not imagine that my own writing is perfect and I know that, to refine longer fiction pieces, I need to focus on my craft as much as I do in shorter ones.
What William Zinsser taught me and multitudes…
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