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Words to Write By: Putting Your Thoughts on Paper [Kindle Edition]

Elaine L. Orr
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

Writing is a learned skill, not something that you either can or cannot do. The distinction between people who seem to write easily and those who do not is more a matter of comfort, exposure, and just plain doing it. This book deals with writing nonfiction, though the concept of developing thoughts well applies to a short story or novel. Do you have an idea for an article? Has you boss said you need to learn to write better? Do you want to write your family history? Learn, at your own pace, how to put your thoughts on paper in a way that encourages others to read them.

A combination of instruction and workbook, the concept behind the book is to select a topic that you know well so that you can focus on what you want to write rather than deal with an unfamiliar topic. Fear of writing is reduced, freeing you to think about how you want to present your ideas to others.

Do you have to write a lot to make your point? No. This book is a testament to the idea that writing briefly can be writing well.

Editorial Reviews


REVIEW: A freebie download, this eBook makes a good introduction to the subject if you've never read another how-to-write book. Orr condenses the usual information, streamlining the process so that anyone - whether they want to write a 1000-page tome or a 1-page article - can easily digest it. Will this book alone make you into a stellar communicator? Probably not - you'll likely want to pick up a supplemental book or two, to fill in information lost during the streamlining process. But it's short, it reads fast, and it's a decent place to start.
Posted by Brightdreamers Book Reviews

From the Author

For many years I did technical editing, and several times a really bright person said, "I just can't write."   They had written something, or I would not have been working with them. What it came down to was they were used to being in command of their subject and they did not feel similar ease in writing about their subject. This struck a chord. I did well in school, but struggled with geometry -- in six marking periods I had three D's and three E's, and the D's were gifts. 

The teacher commented to my mother that I was used to learning easily and did not know how to learn something that was hard. Although it did not unfog my mind enough to do well in geometry and I was terrified of math until my last year of college, the thought of having to tackle hard topics differently than easy ones registered -- enough that I minored in economics in college. By then I had learned that when something was hard I needed to tackle it in smaller bites. Sometimes I had to walk away and come back in a few minutes and try again. Why not apply this to writing, specifically to helping those who found writing as hard as I found geometry? 

The idea of writing what you know so you can focus on the writing, rather than the topic, was born.  "Words to Write By: Putting Your Thoughts on Paper" walks you through a way to organize your thoughts to make writing easier. Pick a topic you like to read about or a hobby you like to do, and let's apply the principles of "Words to Write By."

Product Details

  • File Size: 598 KB
  • Print Length: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Lifelong Dreams (January 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002UNN7GY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #938,630 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Short, Simple Writing Guide That Does The Job February 2, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short writing guide condenses material I've read elsewhere, becoming (nearly) as streamlined as possible. It's geared at nonfiction material - books, articles, even memos - but the same basic advice applies to all manner of written material. I have many other writing guides that do a better job overall, covering the topics discussed in more depth. For its length and its price, however, this makes a good starting point, especially if you haven't read other how-to-write books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to Write? March 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good book to get you started in getting your work published. If this is your dream, then this book is for you. Forget the big publishing firms of today. Kindle publishing will help make it possible. Start writing today. This book gave me the courage to start writing again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Start April 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just started reading this but it exactly what I need, to help start my manuscript. It's getting the words out on paper that is the hardest. Thanks
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful book for basic writing September 12, 2012
By jimi55
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a short book but it covers the basic concepts behind writing well. Plan what you want to say, write it, and be willing to revise. Quick, helpful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Words to Write By" by Elaine Orr is a helpful and eloquently written manual for writers of nonfiction. She is an experienced writer and editor. In the book, she shows that she definitely knows her stuff.

The book tells the reader that if they can talk, they can write, and that good writing is learned. Orr suggests to writers who are just starting out that they should write about what they know, because knowing the subject makes the writing process easier, and to not be afraid of writing badly, because the more a writer practices the craft, the better their writing skills will become.

Orr is a clear and concise writer. Her book is well-written and well-edited. She speaks directly and honestly to the reader in order to help them improve their writing skills. She is a good teacher. She explains the different types of nonfiction writing, some that are not normally explained in other writing books. She discusses the importance of a writer's audience, in order for the writer to communicate appropriately for whomever will be reading their work.

Next, she explains the different steps to writing a nonfiction piece - from ideas to editing - and gives helpful examples. She talks about the importance of clear writing and explains what it is and how to do it. She goes over common grammar errors and respectful language. Lastly, she speaks about ways to learn more about writing and improve writing skills, and lists books and websites that help with doing so.

I recommend "Words to Write By" to beginning nonfiction writers who want a concise review of the important parts of the craft of writing and how to complete a nonfiction piece.
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More About the Author

Elaine L. Orr writes fiction and nonfiction and introduced the Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series in 2011. Elaine created a setting she likes (an east coast beach town) and a profession that would let Jolie meet a lot of people and have the opportunity to get into a lot of trouble (real estate appraising). And friends, lots of friends. The first book in the series is "Appraisal for Murder," then "Rekindling Motives." "When the Carny Comes to Town" was published in February 2012, and "Any Port in a Storm" was out in September 2012. "Trouble on the Doorstep," and "Behind the Walls" debuted in 2013. In 2014 there are "Vague Images" and "Ground to a Halt" (December 27, 2014).

Other books include "Secrets of the Gap," set in Bath, England, home of the astonishing Roman Baths that have been excavated since the late 1870s. It's a wonderful site with ancient and modern mysteries. "Biding Time" is the story of young Frank Myers, nephew of his namesake who was MIA in Vietnam. Geared to a young adult audience, "Biding Time" has appeal for all. It was one of five finalists in the National Press Club's 1993 fiction contest, the club's first.

Elaine belongs to several book clubs and is a regular attendee at the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana and Magna Cum Murder. She has studied writing at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University School of Continuing Education, the Writer's Center of Bethesda, Maryland, and the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Elaine was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Maryland. She moved to the Midwest in the mid-1990s and met her husband in a writers' group in an Iowa library. She and her husband, Jim Larkin, live in Illinois. To learn more, visit her web site at or You can email her at

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