In part 3 of On Writing Well, Zinsser talks about the different forms/styles of writing. These chapters are filled with examples of what he finds admirable and what we should avoid… Read more to find out what he says!
First & Foremost
Behind every boring story there is heart & it is the writer’s job to find that heart. I have definitely found this true in my own writing. Last semester I had to write a research paper on meditation in Japan and trust me I was not excited about this. In order to make my paper more interesting, I decided to try meditation for myself. After taking a few yoga classes and experiencing meditation first hand, I was actually able to make my paper more interesting. As writers, if we strive to find the heart behind every story we write, not only will our work improve, but readers will enjoy it more as well.
Writing about People: The Interview
Another way to capture hidden & interesting information is by getting people to talk. By looking inside someone’s thoughts and understanding them, you will find information that you didn’t even know existed. Since I know I am always terrified of giving/being interviewed, here are some key tips Zinsser gives:
- First, decide what person you want to interview
- Always bring a notebook and a pen/pencil
- Keep your notebook out of sight until you need it
- Do your homework: always bring questions to ask, look at their background, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down so you can jot it all down
- Once you get home, type out your notes & single out the sentences that are most important & colorful
- Never fabricate quotes
Writing about Places: The Travel Blog
If you were paid thousands of dollars for 6 months to blog about anything in the world, what would you blog about? For me, I know I would write about traveling. If I could travel the world and share my experiences, I think I would be the happiest person ever. I would go to exotic places that people rarely visit. The key to this, I think, is writing for yourself instead of writing for other people. According to Zinsser, writers should concentrate on style and substance. We need to find a unique perspective on the location were writing about. If if you write about all your small yet significant memories (awkward encounters and funny stories) people will be more interested and willing to relate!
Writing About Yourself: The Memoir
When it comes to writing about yourself, look “for whatever it is that makes you unique. Write about what you know and what you think.” (178) Instead of writing for someone else, we need to write for ourselves. Act as if you are peeking through a window into your own life. Give detail & be selective. Details allow people to relate to their own experiences but be careful about which details you include. Anyone can write about their life but the information they choose to include makes the memoir successful. BE UNIQUE!
In writing, humor can add an unexpected and memorable twist to your message. Zinsser believes that although humor is important, you must always stay true and accurate to your writing. Once this is done, add a little humor to make it unique! If you want to read more about how to incorporate humor into your writing, read the rest of Zinsser’s chapter on this.
Me Me Me
Although writing well is sometimes thought of as a talent, I believe that it can be taught. Everybody has the ability to write well and produce meaning but it definitley takes hard work. What makes your writing unique? What’s your style?
After reading some of my posts, I think my writing style represents my zodiac sign, a leo. Before I begin, I have to admit that I am all about spirituality and mindfulness. Whether its psychics, astrologists, zodiac signs, and everything in-between, I am all for it. Call me crazy, but back at home (in NY) I have a psychic named Jennie who I go to regularly. I definitley get this from my mom because whenever we travel, we dedicate at least one day to visiting a psychic. I recently stayed at a spa in Sedona, Arizona called Mii Amo and went to an astrologist, terra card reader, and psychic so that’s where I got some of these ideas. Anyways, getting back to my writing style, I would definitley characterize it as “leo-like.”
To start off, Leo’s are very independent and I have definitley been like this my entire life. I think this independence shows in my writing because I will always call it how it is. I try not to coat my writing with a sense of elegance that doesn’t show who I truly am. Although leos tend to be extremely independent, they also need reassurance. This is where you guys come in! I love when people comment/like/share my blog posts because it confirms that people care.
As you may know, the sign for leo is fire and I think this ‘leo lioness’ part of me shows in my writing. I am a “just get to the point” kind of person. In my writing you definitley get what you see. I will always give my opinion on the topic but sometimes this can get me into trouble. If something is bothering me, I will always make a point to say it.
I also would call my writing upbeat. Although I call it how it is, my enthusiasm about certain topics (traveling, food, & animals) definitley shines through.
One thing that I need to work on is getting out of my comfort zone. As a leo, I tend to be pretty serious and traditional. I want to take more risks and challenge myself because you don’t know whats going to happen unless you try.
Once you find your writing style, always remember to stay true to it. I think that if your personality shows in your writing, your readers will always come back for more. Lastly, always remember to put your heart into your work because…