How to Write Well
Writing matters. We all do it, and we all admire it when it’s done well. It doesn’t just express us; it represents us. We write to connect with other people – to make them laugh, or cry, or think. We also write to work out what we think ourselves: there’s nothing like it for concentrating the mind. So what’s the secret of a stylish essay, or story, or email? How do you make your sentences sparkle? Dorothy Parker had a point when she said that writing “is the art of applying the ass to the seat”, but in this slim volume, a leading editor who is also a pop critic and sportswriter shows you much fun you can have while sharpening your pen. Tim de Lisle’s book is packed with good, simple advice: be clear, be concise, be vivid, be organised. In a few breezy chapters, he explains the secrets of good writing, and along the way he quotes dozens of great lines, from the plays of Shakespeare to the journalism of Caitlin Moran. “Writing,” he says, “is like dancing, in that you can tell instantly if someone is good at it. But it’s also like driving in that it can be learnt.” Spend a couple of hours with this book and you’ll learn things that will help you in years to come.