On Writing Well - Part III: Chapter 12 Writing About People: The Interview Summary & Analysis

William Zinsser
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Part III: Chapter 12 Writing About People: The Interview Summary

One of the most common tasks for a nonfiction writer is to conduct interviews with people who know something about the subject of the writing project. Zinsser has found that when taking on a project that seems initially boring, the interviews bring out interesting topics and the human elements.

The author gives several insights about the interview process. The writer should always come to the interview prepared through background research and by having all the interview tools at hand. Zinsser prefers pencils and pad to audio recorders, but has used both effectively. Good interview skills come with practice. The idea is to stimulate people to talk by asking the right questions at the right time. The questions can be prepared ahead of time, and this is a good way to avoid going blank...

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