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Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing
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Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  694 Ratings  ·  86 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)
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♥ Ibrahim ♥
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is rare that you read a book on writing with style without fearing that you are up for hard stuff and you would have to perk up your ears. Not so with our author here. He is so relaxed, laid-back, jolly and enjoys a great sense of humor. You read his book and it feels as if he is sitting across from you and sharing and you are ready to hear him for hours upon hours and never get bored. He is specific. He knows his stuff. He quotes the experts and the best of writers and what they have to say ...more
Mark Hiser
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
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
Jessica Zu
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: howtowrite
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
Ryan Trimble
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Hasitha Gampa
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
good book b/c it gives very helpful tips on how to improve writing. A tip I found helpful is to clear your mind and think before you write so your words make sense and aren't too cluttered.
Todd Luallen
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional book on writing. I loved every chapter. Trimble has a conversational tone that makes his writing effortless to read. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone that wants to communicate more clearly through the written word.

I do, however, have a rather large complaint for the publisher. This book is not available in an e-book format. Come on! Seriously? For people like me that have poor eyesight, reading the small text in the paperback book is a laborious task. PLEASE release an e-b
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read a few books on writing and this is one of my favorite. It's easy and well-written.
Very good tips and how to keep writing.
Julia P
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the sort of stuff we should have learned sophomore year of high school.
Laura Verret
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-sale
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
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
Bob Nichols
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm eventually going to make a shelf/tag of "books I wish read before I started college" after I've divined a less wordy tag. This book will be on that shelf.

This book isn't a series of proclamations about how to write. It is a mostly readable and always practical. The book includes a plethora of ideas about: how to overcome writers block; techniques to improve your revisions; and discussion of where and how to use dialogue, dashes, commas, etc.

I also like the running theme of letting go of the
Christopher Pufall
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of my all-time favorites on the craft of writing. It practices what it preaches in expounding an organic, personable, and authentic rhythm to one's writing. My binding is coming apart on my copy, having referred back to its various chapters many times, as fitting to particular need.

It covers the areas of readability, punctuation, quoting, and provides guidelines for expressing one's thoughts with conciseness and clarity, while cautioning against formalism that would sacrifice t
Carlos Montijo
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: language-writing
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
Mary Anne
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
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
Sep 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mr. Gordon
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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.
Faith Gutierrez
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
This was assigned reading for a class, and I'm glad it was. This book gathers some sensible, easily read information about how to think like a writer, and how to be clear, concise, and compile writing that does what it is intended to do. There were a few examples that I did not think were as stellar as the author did, but overall, I came away with some gems about remembering your audience and what rules and tips will help you to communicate with your audience most effectively.
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
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.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great resource for anyone on this earth. I was originally quite skeptical--judging the book by its cover, you might say; however, my attitude changed as I came to realize that this book is the most conversational (and most useful) resource on writing I've encountered. Well worth the money spent, it is.
Scott Lee
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
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