On Writing Well - Part I: Chapter 2 Simplicity Summary & Analysis

William Zinsser
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Part I: Chapter 2 Simplicity Summary

The problem with American writing is that it is not simple enough, Zinsser declares. He gives many examples, including two pages from his rewriting of this book that retain his proofreader marks. Part of the problem is that many people have cluttered minds, and so the writing comes out cluttered. Others think in unclear ways. Some writers simply do not know what they want to say.

Meanwhile, the reader will quickly lose interest in the writing, thus breaking the transaction described in the previous chapter. The finished product of writing is worthless if nobody reads it. In some situations bad writing must be read; for example, a corporate memo about some big important thing that may or may not need attention, or instructions on putting the swing set together.

Zinsser emphasizes the hard work involved with writing. When people say they...

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