On Writing Well by William K. Zinsser.

Part 1: Principles. (On Writing Well)

  1. The Transaction

  2. Simplicity
    "Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon."

  3. Clutter
    "Fighting clutter is like fighting weeds--the writer is always slightly behind. New varieties sprout overnight, and by noon they are part of American speech."

    "Clutter is the ponderous euphemism ..."

    "Clutter is the official language used by corporations to hide their mistakes."

    "Clutter is the language of the Pentagon throwing dust in the eyes of the populace by calling an invasion a 'reinforced protective reaction strike' and by justifying its vast budgets on the need for 'counterforce deterrence.' How can we grasp such vaporous double-talk?"

    "Most first drafts can be cut by 50 percent."

    To help students recognize clutter, Zinsser would place brackets around clutter so the students could decide if they agreed it was not doing useful work:

    "Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on to something useless just because you think it is beautiful?

    Simplify, simplify."

  4. Style

  5. The Audience

  6. Words

  7. Usage

  8. Unity

Part 2: Forms and Methods. (On Writing Well)

  1. Nonfiction as Literature
  2. Writing About People: The Interview
  3. Writing About Places: The Travel Article
  4. Writing About Yourself: The Memoir
  5. Bits and Pieces
  6. The Lead and the Ending
  7. Science and Technology
  8. Business Writing: Writing in Your Job
  9. Rewriting and Word Processing
  10. Sports
  11. Criticism
  12. Humor
  13. A Writer's Decisions: Organizing a Long Article
  14. Write as Well as you can

Support us -- Buy at Amazon