Words

how to write essays, memos, speeches, and other nonfiction

“Words” is for people who love writing and for people who have writing thrust upon them. Who should own the book? Students confronted with essays and class presentations, business people crafting reports and proposals, people writing family histories or creative nonfiction, and speakers wondering what to say after dinner will all find that “Words” is a valuable companion.

Like Strunk and White’s guidebook, “The Elements of Style,” “Words” is short and sweet, witty and readable. It is not like other writing guides. It coaches rather than lectures. It presents realistic solutions not exercises. It focuses on strategy not theory.

What Makes Words Different?

  • Words focuses on your writing project not other people’s writing.
  • Words presents immediate and realistic solutions not exercises.
  • It focuses on strategies and techniques not theory.
  • It coaches rather than lectures.
  • It explains how to think about writing.
  • It presents a step by step methodical approach.
  • The language is friendly; the advice is unequivocal.
  • It allows for a bit of fun.
  • The paragraphs are short.
  • It simplifies the complex systems of grammar, punctuation, and usage into eleven simple rules.
  • It serves writers well throughout their academic and professional careers.

Words skillfully guides you, step-by-step, through your entire writing project. Written in a conversational style, Words explains how to shape, focus, organize, and polish your nonfiction writing. It coaches you through the process of discovering what you want to say, how you want to say it, and how you convey your ideas with precision, clarity, and confidence.

If you are a student, Words provides an systyematic approach to writing that works across disciplines and will serve you well throughout your academic and professional career. If you write books, proposals, essays, memos, reports, blogs, manuals, presentations, memoirs, articles, journals, speeches, or creative nonfiction, Words is the book for you.

Overview

Section A, Knowing What You Want To Say, presents practical strategies for discovering your key word and your key idea, generating a title, and connecting with your audience. Thoughtful writing begins with a single word, a specific goal, and a well-defined audience.

Section B, Knowing How To Say It, provides realistic techniques for writing your introduction, creating a shared context, conducting a guided tour of your ideas, and creating a satisfying ending. We all see the world through a slightly different lens because of our individual experiences and expectations. Writing is successful when readers see the world through your lens.

Section C, Editing, offers common sense guidelines for editing your work and writing concise, confident, and credible sentences. This section explains how the misuse of verbs is the leading cause of wordiness and how wordiness is the leading cause of poor writing. It also explains how the English language contains only four basic punctuation marks and three basic sentence types.