June 7, 2012
Review of “Words to Write By”
Words to Write By by Elaine Orr is a helpful and eloquently written manual for writers of nonfiction. She is an experienced writer and editor. In the book, it is clear that she definitely knows her stuff.
The book tells the reader that if they can talk, they can write, and that good writing is learned. Orr suggests to writers who are just starting out that they should write about what they know, because knowing the subject makes the writing process easier, and to not be afraid of writing badly, because the more a writer practices the craft, the better their writing skills will become.
Orr is a clear and concise writer. Her book is well-written and well-edited. She speaks directly and honestly to the reader in order to help them improve their writing skills. She is a good teacher. She explains the different types of nonfiction writing, some of which are not normally explained in other writing books. She discusses the importance of a writer’s audience, in order for the writer to communicate appropriately for whomever will be reading their work.
Next, she explains the different steps to writing a nonfiction piece – from ideas to editing – and gives helpful examples. She talks about the importance of clear writing and explains what it is and how to do it. She goes over common grammar errors and respectful language. Lastly, she speaks about ways to learn more about writing and improve writing skills, and lists books and websites that help with doing so.
I recommend Words to Write By to beginning nonfiction writers who want a concise review of the important parts of the craft of writing and how to complete a nonfiction piece.
You can get your own copy here. Enjoy!