Thursday, May 3, 2007

On Writing Well. Zinsser. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant Sentences: On Writing Well. William Zinsser. Continued.

"His [the interviewee's] own words will always be better than your [the interviewer's] words, even if you are the most elegant stylist in the land." p. 75.

"[Seek]...the kind of information that is locked inside people's heads which a good nonfiction writer must unlock." p. 78.

Good use of quote: "I usually like to go downtown once a week," Mr. Smith said, "and have lunch with some of my old friends." Bad use of quote: Mr. Smith said that he liked to "go downtown once a week and have lunch with some of my old friends." p. 84.

"...don't strain to find synonyms for 'he said'.... Don't write 'he smiled' or 'he grinned'...never heard anybody smile..... Reader's eye slips over 'he said' anyway.... If you crave variety, choose synonyms that catch the shifting nature of the conversation.... 'pointed out' .... 'explained' .... 'replied'.... 'added.' " p. 85.

"Use active verbs unless there is no comfortable way to get around using a passive verb." p. 101.

"Most adverbs are unnecessary." p. 102.

"Most adjectives are...unnecessary." p. 103.

Qualifiers: "Don't say you were a 'bit' confused and 'sort of'' tired and 'a little depressed' and 'somewhat' annoyed." p. 104.

Paragraphs: "Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas one long chunk of type can discourage the reader from even starting to read." p. 111.

To dictate or not to dictate: "Dictated sentences tend to be pompous, sloppy and redundant." p. 112.

No comments: