Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing
Very easy to read. Doesn’t feel old or dated despite being written a dozen years ago. A practical and humorous approach to improving your writing, whether it be fiction or non-fiction.
Has lots of tips (with loads of simple and practical examples) on how to rearrange a perplexing or ambiguous sentence so the meaning becomes crystal clear. This is especially helpful when there are two or more people in a sentence and the ‘his’ (or ‘hers’) get ...more
This book could be a quick read, unless the intention is to absorb all of the advice. The chapters are short and breezy, but they also contain a lot of wisdom. In other words, here's another short book that took a long time to read.
Some of the advice O'Conner ...more
This book is simple (and painless) enough for anyone to read - not just (beginner) professional writers but also anyone whose job requires him/her to do a lot of writing.
Seasoned writers may fi ...more
O'Conner's book is as humorous and entertaining as it is informative and helpful. You get the sense that she enjoys the writing process, which counts for a lot (see also: Stephen King's On Writing, Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing.
I recommend this for anybody who writes or is considering writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. I am an administrative assistant for the legal department of a large international company, and even though this book has a decidedly fiction-oriented slant, I was s...more
An excellent guide on writing from a very witty writer. The advice she provides is common sense: use small words, choose strong verbs, vary your sentence length, know your audience, and so on. She also acknowledges when some of her tips might not be as helpful: for example, if you're writing a boring scientific paper, the expected style is long sentences, indirect prose, and five-dollar words. The following anecdote brings that point home:
My husband once helped a French scientist tran ...more
Having resources like this book by O'Co ...more
This is a great read, and it's funny.
Potential readers take note, however: this book is vastly more geared towards writers of nonfiction than fiction, but the points raised are nevertheless applicable to just about any kind of writing.
Whether she's discussing the lack of informed semi-colon users, or the importance of manuscript revision, O'Conner has a strong grasp on what separates good writers from truly great ones. I am well aware that I fall on the lower ...more
This book has a lot of of great and simple writing tips, like how to deal with facts, numbers, structures, and so on. It's witty too. I still remember what she said about how, as a writer, we can't, and perhaps shouldn't, please everyone. She said we should just focus on one reader, because "if you open your window too wide, you'll get pneumonia."
I tried to go at this nibbling at a chapter here and there, and I suppose the book works in that sense, but I found I wanted to go through the whole thing. She's witty and entertaining, even if you already are familiar with the principles and tips she presents here.
I now analyze other people's writing, it's amazing how many 'mistakes' you can find when you look.