The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
The Science Writers' Handbook
|The Science Writers' Handbook
Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish, and Prosper in the Digital Age
By The Writers of SciLance
Edited by Thomas Hayden and Michelle Nijhuis
Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2013
Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - May 27, 2013
Writing about science has many similarities to other nonfiction genres, but also some stark differences. In The Science Writers' Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish, and Prosper in the Digital Age, the Writers of SciLance guide you through the intricacies of writing about science - and how to get your writing published. The advice in this reference book runs the gamut from how to develop story ideas to dealing with the business side of writing. While the focus of this book is, as the title suggests, on the science writing, writers of every ilk will benefit from the advice that fills its pages. However, if you are, or want to become, a science writer, this is an essential guide that will stand you in a good stead for years to come.
If you are not familiar with them, the Writers of SciLance is a community of science writers. You can learn about this energetic community, and this book, on their website located at: pitchpublishprosper.com. Thirty-five members of this community have banded together to share their combined knowledge in this book. The Science Writers' Handbook consists of twenty-six chapters, each penned by a different SciLance member who is an expert in the topic under discussion. The chapters are organized into three main sections:
In addition to the information packed chapters, information is also provided on how to find or form your own writers' community.
>From dumb mistakes that might derail your submission to the ethics of science writing, The Science Writers' Handbook is the perfect tool for anyone seeking to break into the writing about science, or who is looking to transition into the field from another writing field.
- Part I: The Skilled Science Writer
This section is devoted to the nuts-and-bolts of science writing. Topics include an overview of what makes someone a science writer, the basics of using statistics, how to work with editors, and other fundamental skills.
- Part II: The Sane Science Writer
This section deals mostly with the personal aspects of being a science writer, and most of this information applies to writers in every field. Topics covered include coping with rejection, dealing with family members - and family issues, dealing with potential loneliness and lack of support from peers, and the like.
- Part III: The Solvent Science Writer
The final section of this book deals with the business aspects of being a science writer, from finding (and buying) your own health insurance to how to read a contract. For most writers, science or otherwise, the business end of, well, the business, is the most distasteful aspect of writing. However, if you want to make money, and make a career of being a writer, it is one aspect that you cannot afford to overlook!
- Scientific Writing: A Reader and Writer's Guide, by Jean-Luc Lebrun.
A concise and readable guide on how to write science papers that are accessible, accurate, and which will hold your readers attention, whether they are science professionals or general readers.
Also of interest:
- Writing Science in Plain English, (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing), by Anne E. Greene.
- Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing, by Elise Hancock and Robert Kanigel.
- A Field Guide for Science Writers: The Official Guide of the National Association of Science Writers, Edited by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson, and Robin Marantz Henig.
- The Craft of Scientific Writing, by Michael Alley. [This book is a little date, but still very useful.]
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