- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Little Brown Book Group; Reprint edition (7 Feb. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316014990
- ISBN-13: 978-0316014991
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer Paperback – 7 Feb 2008
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More About the Author
'Wrtiers will be inspired'
Tools Not Rules': here are 50 essential ones that writers of all kinds can use every day.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In "Nuts and Bolts," Clark covers writing basics. There are no tedious specifications for comma placement or hyphenation. Instead there are effective techniques for using language "at the word, sentence and paragraph levels." These ten tools include "Establish a pattern, then give it a twist," which shows how repetition can set the reader's expectations. And how occasionally breaking the pattern highlights information and maintains interest. Another chapter, "Cut big, then small" discusses the painful task of revising by removing. Snip and cry, but snip.
"Part Two: Special Effects" demonstrates techniques of "economy, clarity, originality, and persuasion." The thirteen tips in this section include "Set the pace with sentence length" which shows how to influence the psychological "speed" at which a reader moves through text. "Get the name of the dog" emphasizes collecting concrete details as we do research. They allow us to move down the ladder of abstraction and bring life to descriptive writing.
In Part Three: Blueprints," Clark advocates organizing our writing process as well as our documents. Two of the best tools among these sixteen show how to encourage--and manage --readers' progress. "To generate suspense, use internal cliffhangers" and whet the reading appetite with not-yet-complete information.Read more ›
I've read a lot of books about writing and have found that a lot of them repeat the same material, with maybe a few nuggets that aren't in the others. This one was straight out the gate with something that has had me thinking about it non-stop since I read it and I don't want to continue with the book until I've really examined it. It's Tool 1: "Begin sentences with subjects and verbs" and it explains how strong sentences start with the main subject and its verb at or near the beginning of the sentence, like I have in this review ("I've", "I've", "This one was", "It's"). Once you start looking at that in other people's writing and analysing your own, it's an eye-opener. To me, it was worth the price of the book just for that. Can't wait to read the rest (but I'll have to, I'm still thinking about the first chapter!).
UODATE: I'm on Chapter/Tool 11 after a couple of weeks now and I'm still delighted with this book. So many interesting things, and a whole stage up from other books on writing. It's refreshing to read something that feels a bit more advanced and it's also a very easy read. Very highly recommended.
Broken up into fifty sections, each chapter focuses on a different aspect of writing: from structure to procrastination to internal cliff-hangers--using, for the most part, examples from previously published works (primarily other journalists, but also novelists and poets) to solidify, explain or elaborate on his point. And although the chapters are quite short--probably about seven or eight pages each--the book never feels stingy on information, and Roy Peter Clark delves into each subject thoroughly and with an apparent wealth of knowledge and experience.
In essence, it's not just a quick how-to guide, but it's more of a lesson; a long, informative, insightful lesson, with an engaging, clear-minded teacher.
Whether you're a journalist, a short story writer, a novelist, or a screenwriter, I highly recommend this book. It has a little something for everybody.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books on writing I have read. With clearly explained rationale and tools that I have immediately put into practice.Published 2 months ago by Maria KM
the only writing book which does what this one does, which is say: try this way of structuring a sentence, try this other way, try this paragraph idea. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Maia
Very useful writing tips. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I'm trying to apply much of what he teaches in my writing.Published 5 months ago by Mr. Michael Somerset
The headings make provide a list of writing reminders for those needing to be reminded of the point of good clear writing is all about.Published 5 months ago by James Chambers
This book contains strategies for both novice and experienced writers, and the ideas are applicable to both short and long fiction, from articles to novels. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Deborah Swift