Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing” as Want to Read:
Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  393 ratings  ·  71 reviews
A storehouse of practical writing tips, written in a lively, conversational style. Readers lean to develop a "writer's sense" the book demonstrates that writing is really applied psychology since it is essentially the art of creating desired effects. Provides an explanation of what effects are desirable and how to create them. An exceptional book that works successfully on...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published January 6th 2000 by Prentice Hall (first published 1975)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Writing with Style, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Writing with Style

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 878)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mark
I recommend this short book on writing. The author, John Trimble, wrote it as a quick-to-read "survival guide" for students. Trimble does not go into great detail nor does he examine the different modes of discourse. Rather, he discusses ways to think about non-fiction writing in general. For this reason, the book might be best suited for someone who has some writing experience.

What I most like about this book is that Trimble focuses on thinking like a writer rather than on following set formula...more
Xiaomin Zu
Simply the best: for anyone who wants to challenge their creativity and to learn the pleasure of this hard work--writing. If you only have time to read one and only one book on writing, choose this one. You will not regret it. Besides, it's really short: less than 200 pages. On top of everything, it is amazingly readable--a paragon of non-textbook. No wonder the third edition is already out.

This book changed my view about composition courses; it convinced me the legitimacy of an English Departm...more
Ryan Trimble
Having read a handful of books on writing, this is my favorite. Trimble's style is so engaging and enjoyable and witty. He simultaneously explains stylistic concepts while demonstrating them. Non-writers would even enjoy this book; it's that well-written.
Laura
Writing with Style is a survival kit; it’s helped me understand many of the problems I face as a writer and how to overcome them. But it’s also a tool-box; ready with a host of suggestions that bettered my writing in places I didn’t know needed improvement.

Mr. Trimble provides tips that make the actual writing process easier, but he also shows how to make our writing more effective. He encourages us to think beyond ourselves when we write; to not focus on whether a phrase sounds super-smart but...more
Bob Nichols
Among writing books, this is the best I've come across. Trimble's focus is not on fussy rules and convention, but what makes sense, common sense, for clarity and communication. In approaching writing this way, Trimble frees the writer to take some liberties and be, perhaps, more creative and authentic.

Even so, Trimble has his own rules to be followed: be crisp and clear, save space, offer variety, freshness and surprise. "Delete" is a favorite mantra; avoid the "God-like Pose," the "Dogma of For...more
Jeannie
This book was the main text for my first composition class as an English major at BYU. That was more than 30 years ago and I still pull Trimble off the shelf when I need to teach certain concepts or just check my own writing.

Once in a while I like to just take Trimble down off the shelf and read him again. He applies the concepts as he teaches them, taking all of the drudgery out of learning the mechanics of writing. As a result, Writing with Style doesn't read like a text book. It's just a gre...more
Audrey
Not so much a nuts-and-bolts kind of book, but more conversations about writing itself: how to go about writing. There are also some tips about usage, punctuation and so forth, but mostly it gives ideas about the writing process.
Carlos E. Montijo
This is one of the best books I've read about writing. Unfortunately, I disagree with Trimble's endorsement of foul language. He evidently thinks profanity can make writers more expressive and "raw," and quotes other famous writers who use it unapologetically.

But foul language is inappropriate in any context (Prov. 4:24, 17:20, 19:1; Matt. 5:21-22, 15:11, 16-20; Ecc. 5:6; Eph. 4:29, 31-32; Col. 3:8; James 3:5-12). Rather than making him more sophisticated, refined, or expressive, foul language...more
Jen
The best book on writing that I've read.
Mary Anne
This is a book that most writing instructors use in their classes. Thus, I followed suit and used it in my own writing class with college students, and I will certainly do so in the next semester. Trimble uses a lot of examples within each chapter, and the chapters themselves are short and not condescending. One thing I like is that Trimble didn't spend a lot of time on basic grammar and the like. The assumption is that students are mostly past that stage, and that's a fair estimation for the co...more
Abby
If you are interested becoming a better writer, this is a great book to look into. I love how, as he tells his reader how to write, Trimble follows his own rules. He talks about the importance of thinking of your reader, and he gives advice on how to make the reader comfortable with tone, sentence structure, diction, etc., and at the same time, he is incredibly considerate of his own readers. His book is a wonderful example of the principles he is trying to teach. It is easy, short, and interest...more
Travis
Pretty good. Though I like reading grammar books, there is always something ironic about them since they are written with grammar. It's kind of like trying to paint a painting about how to paint well. I find myself analyzing the writer's word and grammar choices at the same time I'm trying to pay attention to what he's saying. Overall this was Okay. I've read a few other books on writing and grammar that spoke more poignantly to me. I'll probably finish this on some late night in between books.
Jason
I picked this up in a thrift store and discovered a treasure! It's clear and compelling, with engaging writing. The writing examples are pertinent and it's easy to see the point that the author is attempting to illustrate. It's written at a level where an average high-schooler or skilled elementary school student can understand, though the book probably wouldn't hold the attention of an elementary school student for long.

Trimble definitely practices what he preaches.

There is a newer edition.
Bob
This is my favorite writing book. I have read many of them, but this one unifies and organizes the wisdom of the good ones and shows why some pieces of advice are wrong and other are worse-- wrong-headed. It shows the connection between morality and clear writing that John Gardner wrote about unclearly in On Moral Fiction and that nearly any sensitive reader feels when reading George Orwell's later work. E.B. White's essays come to mind- also Cheever's short stories and Thoreau's last writings.
HRH
I first read this in high school and my lack of writing experience meant that it went over my head. From my current perspective it was much more helpful and meaningful. The book details how to get your point across and basic grammar rules. A couple things (like the part about footnotes) are a little outdated but 99% of the information is still very relevant. The book, while not as exhilarating as, say, a novel, is entertaining. And it's short, which these sorts of things ought to be.
Alex
Sep 01, 2007 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Students and Writers
Good writing must: 1. Say something worthwhile, and 2. Interest. Without the first, good writing is impossible. Without the second, nobody reads you: this book teaches both.

In a great contrast to high school English classes, this book teaches how to write with seductive creativity; through the proper preparation of ideas, simple drafting techniques, and revising tips and tricks.

After reading this book, I know my writing will never be the same: it will be better.
Faith Gutierrez
I was also fortunate enough to have been a student of Professor Trimble at the University of Texas. We used this book in his class and it was superb. Just the right amount of information to give me insight into my own writing, and lots of motivation to improve it. He was, by the way, an excellent teacher. The kind you forever remember. To this day his teachings have stuck with me, and I still own my original classroom copy of this book.
Jen
This book is for everyone - writers, non writers who are forced to write for school or work, or just for people messing around with words. The topics included everything from how to be concise, to using a "font door approach," to, my personal favorite, how to not "bleed." This book saved me in my intermediate rhetoric and comp class, and I put much faith in it. The examples are relevant and entertaining. Give this one a shot!
Elizabeth
There is a lot of useable advice in here, though it will be more pertinent to an undergraduate audience than a professional or graduate student writer. I like, especially, how the book combines advice on style and structure with other pragmatic advice about how to use quotes, punctuation, and often erroneously used/spelled words correctly. I'm hoping it will be a useful addition to my composition class next quarter.
Mr. Gordon
Reading Trimble's Writing With Style felt like a conversation with a wise and helpful authority. While there were plenty of places that I disagreed with his advice (some of is formulaic approaches felt a bit stuffy), I could appreciate them in spirit. Trimble never prescribes; instead, I felt that he took me into his confidence and shared his very best. I enjoyed his selection of epigraphs and quotes as well.
Rory
For anyone who wants to improve their communication either written or spoken I highly recommend this book. My favorite part is the first few chapters before he gets into the practical measure of how to improve. With that I don't mean to imply that the rest is rubbish, which of course it is not. I just don't see how telling people to read the riveting chapter on punctuation is going to garner much interest.
Gina R. Evers
I'm enjoying teaching this book to my LIT 101 students. Trimble's philosophies on writing are excellent tools for my students to employ while examining their own writing processes. Because the book is less directive then other writing texts, it's also fun to see my students' critical reading of the text rather than their skeptical adherence to what an expert writer tells them to do.
D.N.
Excellent little book that I can't really recommend highly enough. A joy to read because it really is written conversationally--this is not mere book jacket blurb. It's as if Trimble is across the table from you in your kitchen helping you think about writing. If you find Strunk & White to be dry as dust and other writing books too technical in nature you'll find this very worthwhile.
Ross
The key take-away for me was the need to serve your reader by writing in a way that is easy easy easy to read. Which helps explain the previously arbitrary-seeming rules of usage and punctuation: they evolved for ease of reading, not ease of writing (since readers exert the selection pressure). It's mildly embarrassing that I didn't realize this until now, at age 32.
Sarah
Much of this book, particularly the sections on punctuation rules, was review to me. However, for a beginning writer, this book would be invaluable. Even though I am more experienced, I still gained a lot from the beginning sections about how to write effective openers, middles and closers in essays. Anyone who is writing critical essays should check out this book.
Scott Lee
How could a writing handbook be "amazing"? By being one of the only writing handbooks this English teacher has read that actually is both readable and effective. Trimble dispenses his instruction with wit, skill, and--yes--style. If your professor assigns this text in your writing class, or teaches from it elsewhere, lap it up. It's the real deal.
Phillip.c.lacey
In this friendly style manual, famed UT professor John Trimble addresses issues that writers of all caliber face. Never condescending, Writing with Style meets you on your level, gently uncovers your writing flaws, and then guides you through the solutions.

This book is not only useful as a reference manual, but also fun and easy to read.

Clarissa Olivarez
Although I hated the chapter on "Superstitions," since I'm what Trimble would call a "literary prude," I still thought his book was incredibly helpful in teaching college courses and identifying common writing errors. This is a great book to have handy for a writer at any stage of his or her career.
Rachel
While I didn't actually finish reading this book throughout the course of the school year, what I did read was helpful. The thought of seeing my writing from a reader's perspective especially.

If you wouldn't benefit from reading a piece, it's not well-written. Write as a reader.
Charles Stone
This is a must read for anyone wanting make their writing more interesting and focused. Not only will this book explain how to make a piece flow from one paragraph to the next, but it will also help young writers ignore some of those no-no's their english teacher preached to them.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 29 30 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Writing to Learn: How to Write--And Think--Clearly about Any Subject at All
  • Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process
  • Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
  • Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success
  • A Pocket Style Manual
  • Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction
  • Fiction Writer's Workshop
  • They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing
  • The Weekend Novelist
  • The Elements of Editing
  • The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes
  • Making Shapely Fiction
  • Creating Unforgettable Characters
  • The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing
  • The Synonym Finder
  • Writing the Natural Way
  • Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
  • Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language & Style

Share This Book