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A Writer's Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies That Work

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Mystified over misplaced modifiers? In a trance from intransitive verbs? Paralyzed from using the passive voice? To aid writers, from beginners to professionals, legendary writing coach Jack Hart presents a comprehensive, practical, step-by-step approach to the writing process. He shares his techniques for composing and sustaining powerful writing and demonstrates how to o ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by Anchor Books (first published 2006)
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Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, editors
Recommended to Scott by: nieman narrative editors' conference
I would like to have this book loaded on a computer chip and implanted in my brain. Then I could draw on it at will. And as a writer and editor, I would scale mountains and slay dragons and always return home a hero.
But such automatic success would eliminate the trying, failing, trying again and succeeding that is so rewarding if you are a writer or editor. You know you'll never know it all, but you keep learning to get as close as you can.
So what I'll do is just keep this book nearby. I'll d
Lorii Myers
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great book. I reread it everytime I do the final read through on my manuscripts. It's a great refresher that enables me to realign and focus on whether I am clearly and effectively making my point.

A great reference for non-fiction writers.
Christopher Chelpka
A Writer's Coach teaches you how to improve the substance of your writing. It covers classic, Strunk & White categories like brevity, clarity, and color. But you’ll also learn how to improve the writing process itself. And good news! Going from idea to published piece is about method, not magic.

The book is well organized and easy to reference. In addition to an index, Hart provides summaries (“cheat sheets”) at the end of every chapter.

He writes with journalists first in mind, but his advice is
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a dark and stormy night... that’s how you should start any good piece of writing, right? This is the type of book that you can keep at your desk as a handy reference guide. It goes wide and covers theme and structure and zooms in with your handy grammar tips and guidelines about creating prose that resonates. With real-life examples, it’s also a really fun read - dare I say laugh out loud at moments? Highly recommend this book for anybody getting serious about writing.
Anson Cassel Mills
This guide book, with its many helpful suggestions, is directed mainly at journalists; but it is also the sort of book that can be sampled as well as read. I recommend perusing chapters that speak to your own writing genre and skimming those that don’t. Hart provides a bibliography with other helpful sources for the developing writer, including, at the top of my list, Strunk & White, Elements of Style; William Zinsser, On Writing Well; and Stephen King, On Writing. Hart did not include another p ...more
Mark Mathes
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a useful, fun reference by an author who was excellent newspaper editor and writing coach at The Oregonian and columnist for Editor & Publisher magazine. You'll find a dozen thematic chapters from Method to Color to Voice. It's easy to jump to the challenge you're facing in your writing. Plenty of examples, some charts and cheat sheets at the end of chapters: "Five ways to add oomph to your writing." And: "Five ways to get people into your writing." Plus, resources, from books to collect ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
I have read a lot of writing books but still found this one helpful. I liked the author's suggestion for thinking of ideas to write about. I thought the book was heavy on grammar and could have explained more about ways to edit (besides grammar). ...more
Bonnie Schroeder
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The author is very knowledgable about English usage and effective writing for journalists. Despite his assertion to the contrary, however, there is not a lot of helpful advice in her for fiction writers specifically.
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: journalism
Simply a must read.
Granted, parts of the book are specific to English users (like, the grammar/spelling part), but still - it's both inspiring AND educational.
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: about-writing
It was dumb luck I stumbled upon Jack Hart's book, A Writer's Coach (Pantheon Books 2006). I couldn't afford to hire an editor for my novel, but knew it needed help. There are hundreds (thousands?) of self-help books on this topic, so how was I to pick the one that would work for me? I personally own over a dozen, including Lukeman's First Five Pages, several by Donald Maass and several more by James Frey. While I did want one that specialized in self-editing, I also have quite a few of those--i ...more
Jerome Baladad
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another must-read book for writers (and those with lurking ambitions to make it as a writer in a very competitive world that tends to put down outsiders and beginners---unless you're lucky, persistent, disciplined and focused with your goals), this book hopefully will help you on improving your efforts to sharpen your tools in your craft continuously. After reading this, I'm beginning to believe that I have to keep on reading and understanding inputs from books like this so that I'll improve my ...more
Tee Jay
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking to write well
Jack Hart’s A Writer's Coach: An Editor's Guide to Words That Work is one of the best books on writing I have read. It is to the point, elegant, and has a lot of useful information packed into its pages. Most importantly, it is written in a way that is accessible and modern so that a reader feels like he or she is speaking with the writer. A Writer’s Coach is a welcome addition to any budding or professional writer, regardless of the genre being written.

Some of the material covered in this littl
Frank Anderson
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Writer’s Coach by Jack Hart, Pantheon Books
This book assumes that you want to read up on all of the components of writing. In approximately 270 pages Jack Hart covers everything from the method of writing on through the actual mechanics of thee process.
I bought this book, like many others, because as a younger person I failed to recognize the importance of being able to write correctly. I still struggle, but, with continued help, I believe I am getting better. One of the reasons is this bo
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a wonderful book for anyone who is interested in having their writing skill improved. Lots of useful insights and hints on how to make your words, sentences, and paragraphs more powerful and refreshing. Useful examples, humorous comments. Although Hart talks about the art of writing mainly from a journalist's point of view, many of the advices are applicable for various types of writing. Funny enough that it is the opposite of the indirect and passive approach scientists took
Apr 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a lot of new material if you've read other writing advice books, but it's organized well, and the first section, on organizing (non-fiction) writing projects before you start drafting is very good. Weirdly, organization and process are often neglected in this sort of book, so it's nice to see them treated well. ...more
Victor Samuel
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, calling
Jack Hart did it well. He tells, and mostly shows, how a fine writing is done without unnecessary pain. Emphasised in journalism, his practical and humorous wit strikes most of writing features, from idea generation to the art of fine-tuning. I wish I had had read it at the beginning of my bachelor study. Get a copy soon. Your writing will never be the same!
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written guide to writing, full of examples for every topic of import from color to clarity to process with helpful snapshots at the end of each chapter to review key points

Having completed this book, I should have composed an eloquent review.
Rona Simmons
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully informative book on writing. Particularly helpful with editing. Full of examples for each of the author’s recommendations. One of the few books that I believe are worth owning in hardback. I want to highlight and underline and “star” to my heart’s content.
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had some good information in it. I checked it out from the library and took a few notes since I couldn't highlight and tab it up like I do with my own books, but I'd recommend it to other writers. ...more
Liz Wager
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A first-rate, practical guide full of helpful tips and examples. Although it's mainly aimed at journalists this book will help anybody improve their writing. I found it less dated (and sexist) than Zinsser and more focused on the writing process (rather than just on polishing your style). ...more
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great advice from one of the country's foremost writing coaches (at The Oregonian). Super readable. Makes tons of sense. ...more
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Solid, clear advice. I may need to buy this one.
Maybe I have been reading too many "how to" books on writing. I didn't feel this one added much and it only deals with journalistic writing. ...more
Meghan Pinson
Worthwhile, useful. The chapters on brevity and force were thorough and direct; it would be good to have this on hand.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one to read again.
Sep 23, 2011 is currently reading it
This was recommended to me by the A&E editor and Seven Weekly. It's got a lot of excellent and practical writing strategies for freelancers and journalists. ...more
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, 2011
The best technical book on writing I've evver read!
Not really inspiring, but exactly what I needed.
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides tips for journalists, but I enjoyed the sections on force and brevity. I noticed an immediate improvement in my writing.
Mark Lewis
Again, I did not finish the book. it's so dry, it reads like a textbook. ...more
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Jack Hart was a managing editor at The Oregonian and has served as the newspaper's writing coach and staff development director. Formerly a professor of journalism at The University of Oregon, he has often lectured at Harvard's Niemann Conference for Narrative Journalism, and he teaches at writers' conferences throughout the country. ...more

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