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A Writer's Coach: An Editor's Guide to Words That Workby Jack R. Hart — Managing editor of The Oregonian newspaper
Synopses & Reviews
A practical, innovative step-by-step approach to the writing process from one of the most acclaimed writing coaches in the country.
In A Writer's Coach, Jack Hart — a managing editor at The Oregonian — shares the wisdom with which he has coached reporters to Pulitzer Prize-winning success. He gives invaluable advice on gathering ideas, writing theme statements and outlines, and using the "ladder of abstraction" to add variety and texture to writing. He provides a lexicon of lead sentences. He shares his ideas for composing and sustaining powerful writing, and for ensuring that what you write will be accessible to your audience. Discussing the ways writers can trip themselves up — procrastination, writer's block, and excessive polishing, to name just a few — Hart demonstrates how to overcome each obstacle. Excerpts from writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Joan Didion, and from articles gathered from magazines and newspapers, provide inspiration and instructive examples of both inadequate and exemplary writing.
Like a personal, portable writing coach, A Writer's Coach will be a boon to writers, editors, teachers, and students.
"Good writing can dance, according to Jack Hart, 'writing coach' and managing editor at The Oregonian. It has a rhythm 'that pleases in its own right, creating cadences that give pleasure, regardless of content.' This guide is intended to nudge insecure writers-especially those in the early stages of honing their craft-in the direction of their keyboards with practical tools for how to achieve clear, forceful and effective writing, no matter the subject. Hart's experience as a newspaperman is perhaps his greatest asset here; focused and clutter-free, chapters follow a logical learning sequence complete with one-word chapter titles ('Method' 'Process' etc.) that get right to the point. His narrative tone is accessible and engaging, with anecdotes and advice from seasoned colleagues in the industry. Though positioned as a guide for tackling anything from a personal letter to a memoir, Hart's examples and terminology lean heavily on newspaper and feature writing, which may frustrate some creative types. That journalistic approach (which Hart freely admits to in the book's introduction), however, makes for an insightful, methodical approach to developing an idea into a story. Structured more like a textbook than a general professional development or trade title, this makes an ideal addition to the classroom." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Wise, practical, and smart, A Writer's Coach is an exceptional book, offering advice with good humor and great insight. Jack Hart's approach to the writing process will engage you while you're learning, console you when you're stuck, and, best of all, inspire you to be a better writer." Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief
"A landmark book. A Writer's Coach gets behind the mystique and shows how the successful writer thinks his or her way through stories. It will remove much of the pain, fear, and confusion from a writer's life. With Jack Hart as your guide, the writing process just makes good sense." Jon Franklin, author of Writing for Story
"Jack Hart is the nation's finest coaching editor and teacher, and his book towers above others of its kind. A hands-on guide remarkable for its completeness, its clarity, and its passion, A Writer's Coach is an instant classic." William E. Blundell, author of The Art and Craft of Feature Writing
"No newspaper editor in America has done more to inspire good writing than Jack Hart. With this book, his wisdom is now available to writers of all ages." Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar, The Poynter Institute, and author of Writing Tools
"At last, writers who have not had the opportunity to work with Jack Hart can benefit from his legendary skills as an editor. A Writer's Coach will be a godsend for reporters and editors." Stuart Warner, writing coach and enterprise editor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"No one has a better command of good writing than Jack Hart. He pays attention to the tiniest details as well as the large concepts — and no concept is too big or too complex. His coaching has produced generations of fine writers. His book will help generations more." Amanda Bennett, editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Written by one of the most acclaimed writing coaches in America, this innovative, step-by-step approach to the writing process is ideal for both journalism and creative nonfiction--making it perfect for writers, editors, teachers, and students.
About the Author
Jack Hart is a managing editor and writing coach at the Oregonian. Formerly a professor at the University of Oregon, he has also taught at several other universities, at Harvard's Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism, at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and at writers' conferences throughout the United States. He lives in Portland.
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