Cover image for Ideas into words : mastering the craft of science writing
Ideas into words : mastering the craft of science writing
Hancock, Elise.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xv, 151 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
T11 .H255 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From the latest breakthroughs in medical research and information technologies to new discoveries about the diversity of life on earth, science is becoming both more specialized and more relevant. Consequently, the need for writers who can clarify these breakthroughs and discoveries for the general public has become acute. In Ideas into Words, Elise Hancock, a professional writer and editor with thirty years of experience, provides both novice and seasoned science writers with the practical advice and canny insights they need to take their craft to the next level. Rich with real-life examples and anecdotes, this book covers the essentials of science writing: finding story ideas, learning the science, opening and shaping a piece, polishing drafts, overcoming blocks, and conducting interviews with scientists and other experts who may not be accustomed to making their ideas understandable to lay readers. Hancock's wisdom will prove useful to anyone pursuing nonfiction writing as a career. She devotes an entire chapter to habits and attitudes that writers should cultivate, another to structure, and a third to the art of revision. Some of her advice is surprising (she cautions against s

Author Notes

Elise Hancock is a science writer and former editor of the Johns Hopkins Magazine

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

This is a slim book, but it contains a wealth of information. The author, a veteran science writer, tells us pretty much everything we need to know about her demanding field. She discusses finding the story you want to tell, conducting the research, and developing the story structure, and she breaks each down into its component parts. In the chapter titled Research and Interview, for example, she discusses the proper use of press releases; how to choose your interview subjects (and even what time of day is best to conduct an interview); and the importance of being able to spot when information from one source conflicts with information from another source. Smartly written and constructed, the book is absolutely essential to someone looking to enter this very tough, competitive field. --David Pitt Copyright 2003 Booklist

Table of Contents

Robert Kanigel
Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
1. A Matter of Attitudep. 1
2. Finding Storiesp. 29
3. Finding Out: Research and the Interviewp. 45
4. Writing: Getting Started and the Structurep. 69
5. Writing: The Nitty Grittyp. 95
6. Refining Your Draftp. 111
7. When You're Feeling Stuckp. 129
Afterwordp. 145
Indexp. 147