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week 5

On Writing Well

In Pinker’s novel, On Writing Well, he highlights key elements that most people do not understand about the art of writing. In an excerpt of eight chapters from his book, he explains that people become better writers by practicing their writing, even though their style may need some improvement. He highlights how you can improve your writing style in this book. In his first chapter, he talks about unity in writing: making sure everything is uniform. All of us know, from getting scolded at by our literature teachers, that when you write in one tense, you must stay writing in that tense for the remainder of the paper. This is exactly the type of unity that Pinker is referring to. The same goes for the goal of your writing: if you choose to do a piece meant to be informational, do not start advertising for a product when you see fit. His next tips cover the lead and the ending, the start and the finish, of a paper. The lead is the “hook” of the paper, it is meant to draw readers in to the writing and capture their attention so they will keep on reading. It needs to be catchy and not too cliché. The ending however, Pinker says is harder because many writers know how and when to start a paper, but they do not know when to stop. As opposed to opening an ending with the standard “in conclusion…” Pinker suggests that we end with a bang because not only will the outlined ending bore the reader, but if you end with a fulfilling ending, the meaning of the paper will stay with the reader even after they are done reading. The last concept that Pinker refers to in-depth is that of science. His main point was not how to write about science, but writing about a subject that you do not know a lot about. In this case, he suggested that the writer do one of two things. The first option was to write about the concept in steps: go over every event in order and write about what happened. The other case was to relate yourself to the concept to help your readers understand that concept better. Overall, the main goal of the writer is to get his point across to the readers, and by inserting personal experience, the reader might get a better idea about what the writer is talking about.

Throughout the whole excerpt, Piker was very informative, and in my opinion, he was very conversational. He tried to insert some humor into the explanations for writing styles and I believe that would help get his main theme across to readers. I believe that his main audience consists of people that want to learn how to write better and improve their writing style. Just as Piker said, the more you write, the better a writer you become, this book was just written in an effort to improve their writing style.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “On Writing Well

  1. Wonderful post today. I found it very interesting. Thank you very much for sharing.

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    Posted by Writing Jobs | February 23, 2012, 8:19 am

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