Most of what you think you know about writing is useless. It’s the harmful debris of your education—a mixture of half-truths, myths, and false assumptions that prevents you from writing well. Drawing on years of experience as a writer and teacher of writing, Verlyn Klinkenborg offers an approach to writing that will change the way you work and think. There is no gospel, no orthodoxy, no dogma in this book. What you’ll find here isn’t the way to write. Instead, you’ll find a way to clear your mind of illusions about writing and discover how you write.
Several Short Sentences About Writing is a book of first steps and experiments. They will revolutionize the way you think and perceive, and they will change forever the sense of your own authority as a writer. This is a book full of learning, but it’s also a book full of unlearning—a way to recover the vivid, rhythmic, poetic sense of language you once possessed.
An indispensable and unique book that will give you a clear understanding of how to think about what you do when you write and how to improve the quality of your writing.
About the Author
Verlyn Klinkenborg comes from a family of Iowa farmers and is the author of Making Hay, The Last Fine Time, The Rural Life, Timothy, and Several Short Sentences About Writing. A member of the editorial board of the New York Times, he has written for The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, National Geographic, Mother Jones, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. He teaches creative writing at Yale University and Pomona College and lives on a small farm in upstate New York.
“Verlyn Klinkenborg has written an exceptionally interesting and useful book about writing. There have been good books on grammar and style, some classics, but none to compare to this one for understanding where sentences come from in the first place, where their vitality is found, and what distinguishes their energy, their authenticity, and their prospects for life after birth--that is, the art of revision. This book's long future will be a testament to its author's principles.” –Tom McGuane
"This is a very interesting little book about writing. Modest. Learned. Good-natured. Direct and sympathetic to its readers. You don't even have to read it front to back (probably you couldn't, anyway). You can just open it anywhere—as I did—and take away something useful." –Richard Ford
“Verlyn Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences About Writing is an invaluable book for anyone who wants to write well. The simple clarity and logic that he brings to the page is mesmerizing and inspiring—the ultimate cleansing process that leaves you wanting a fresh piece of paper and a brand new start. It is a book filled with great advice and wisdom. And it's fun, too!” –Jill McCorkle
“Expertise and zeal are required for an established writer to offer genuinely useful guidance to aspiring writers. It also helps if the writer teaches writing, as Klinkenborg has for many years…The result is a unique anatomy of the sentence and the writing mind and a clarifying and invigorating ‘book of first steps.’” –Booklist
“To paraphrase Voltaire’s statement concerning the Almighty, ‘if Verlyn Klinkenborg did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.’ Because having read Several Short Sentences About Writing, I do not think that it would be possible to not have this book on hand…no other book, old or new, is as well reasoned as this, as entertaining or as wise…Indeed, no other book is as filled with as much grounded, practical advice for putting words to the paper or electronic page or gives better, more helpful exercises…Best book on writing. Ever.” –New York Journal of Books
“A fresh perspective on writing that goes against conventional classroom theory.” –Shelf Awareness
“Klinkenborg does away with much of the traditional wisdom on writing and dissects the sentence—its structure, its intention, its semantic craftsmanship—to deliver a new, useful, and direct guide to the art of storytelling.” –Brain Pickings
“Powerful…each sentence miraculously contains an idea or insight that lesser writers would have milked for several pages.” –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette