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Draft No. 4

208 pages, 2017

arts & entertainment

arts & entertainment

401 books
biographies & memoirs

biographies & memoirs

997 books

In this seminal work on writing nonfiction, John McPhee shares years of insights and experience with the general reader. McPhee's advice on structure, diction, and tone is direct and clear. 

The author also casts a wry eye on some of his most lauded pieces by exposing their weaknesses while revealing the strengths they have accrued over time. Draft No. 4 offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life of a writer at work.

The Importance of Structure

In Draft No. 4, John McPhee emphasizes the importance of structure in writing. He believes that a well-structured piece is the backbone of good writing. So, before you start writing, take some time to plan out your structure. It's like building a house - you wouldn't start without a blueprint, would you?

The Power of Revision

McPhee shares that the real magic happens in the revision process. He suggests that your first draft is just a starting point. Don't be afraid to make changes, cut out unnecessary parts, and refine your work. Remember, it's called Draft No. 4 for a reason!

The Art of Research

Research is a crucial part of writing, according to McPhee. He encourages writers to dig deep into their topics, explore every angle, and never stop asking questions. The more you know about your subject, the more compelling your writing will be.

The Balance of Detail

McPhee teaches us that detail is a double-edged sword. While it can enrich your writing, too much of it can also bog down your story. He advises finding the right balance - give your readers enough detail to paint a picture, but not so much that it overwhelms them.

The Writer's Responsibility

Lastly, McPhee reminds us that as writers, we have a responsibility to our readers. We should strive to be accurate, fair, and respectful in our writing. Remember, your words have power, so use them wisely.

Quotes 5

John McPhee's Draft No. 4 is a masterclass in the writer's craft. It is a book about the love and labour of writing. I recommend it to all.

Robert MacfarlaneRobert Macfarlane - Nature Writer

Draft No. 4 is a revelation. It's a manual, a memoir, and a manifesto. It's one of the most insightful books about writing I've ever read.

Susan OrleanSusan Orlean - Journalist, Author

Draft No. 4 is a brilliant book about writing. It's full of wisdom, humor, and insight. It's a must-read for anyone who cares about words.

Nicholas ThompsonNicholas Thompson - Editor, Author

John McPhee's Draft No. 4 is a treasure. It's a guide to the craft of writing that is both practical and inspiring.

David RemnickDavid Remnick - Journalist, Editor

Draft No. 4 is a masterwork. It's a book about the art of writing that is as illuminating as it is engaging.

George PackerGeorge Packer - Journalist, Novelist
Robert MacfarlaneSusan OrleanNicholas ThompsonDavid RemnickGeorge Packer


authorJim Collins

Jim Collins

authorDaniel Pink

Daniel Pink

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authorTim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

media personalitytechnologyventure capitalistauthor

Draft No. 4 found in libraries

498 books

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