Skip Navigation
NPR News
Colored pencils (iStockphoto.com)

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books On Writing Well

by Jonathan Gottschall
Apr 18, 2012 (All Things Considered)

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this


I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to start writing for general readers, not just my fellow Ph.D.s. To do so, I knew I needed to unlearn my worst academic habits while studying the best techniques of great writers. Here are three fun-to-read books that helped my writing.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Read full story transcript

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.