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Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces Paperback – 31 Jan 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown US; Reprint edition (31 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316126705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316126700
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 873,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Praise for The Glamour of Grammar

"A grammar manual for the 21st century--a little more earthy, a little more relaxed. A welcome addition to the bookshelf of anyone who cares about language." "Ammon Shea, "New York Times Book Review"""

"A fine common-sense guide to the proper use of language." "Barbara Fisher, "Boston Globe"""

"A streamlined, accessible, witty book...[Clark] is a coach rather than a scold, encouraging readers to 'live inside the language.'" "Colette Bancroft, "St. Petersburg Times"""

"An engaging and witty exploration of the shifting rules of English grammar...Clark shows breathtaking knowledge of how language is used in the real world and a passionate commitment to helping writers make good choices." "Chuck Leddy, "Minneapolis Star Tribune"""

"Who knew that a discussion of grammar could induce laughter? This is an eminently readable, extremely enjoyable guide that readers will find highly useful on their path to development, not just as writers, but as readers." "Publishers Weekly""

"[Roy Peter] Clark takes readers through a well-paced presentation...he conveys the magic that is to be found in English, in its ever active evolution." "Margaret Heilbrun, "Library Journal"""

"A wealth of practical advice delivered with a welcome side of gentle reassurance, Roy Peter Clark's "Help! For Writers" breaks the writing process down into seven steps, spotlighting 21 problems that befall writers along the way and addressing them with 210 solutions. No matter where you get stuck, dip into this book and you'll find tips and tricks to get yourself moving again -- all accompanied by the humor, wit and cheerful sympathy that have made Clark one of the country's most beloved and effective writing teachers." "Jason Fry, blogger, Reinventing the Newsroom""

Praise for The Glamour of Grammar
"A grammar manual for the 21st century--a little more earthy, a little more relaxed. A welcome addition to the bookshelf of anyone who cares about language." "Ammon Shea, "New York Times Book Review"""

Book Description

Roy Peter Clark, one of the most influential writing teachers in the U.S., offers 210 solutions to the biggest problems writers face.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
The subtitle of this book is "210 solutions to the problems every writer faces". The author, Roy Peter Clark, has divided these up into seven main sections, these being:

Getting started
Getting your act together
Finding focus
Looking for language
Building a draft
Assessing your progress
Making it better

Plus a section that includes the author's 25 favourite writing books.

What attracted me to the book were the fact that you can dip into it anywhere you like, and the subsections within the main sections. For example, one subheading is "I have problems selecting my best stuff". That is certainly a problem I have, but Clark suggests a fairly mechanical method of dealing with it. Ultimately, you end up with a list of what is most important and what is most interesting -- and there's a good chance they will be one and the same.

I have come across quite a lot of how-to books on the craft of writing, and what I especially liked about this one is that the advice is often different from the usual stuff. Not that the "usual stuff" is not good, but it is refreshing to hear something new for a change.

Although quite a few examples are concerned with fiction rather than non-fiction, I think the advice can be applied interchangeably between them.

I also liked the personal voice, and the honesty. Consider, for example, this extract from a sentence:

"I don't remember reading the stories in this anthology...."

I come across so many people and writers who try to present themselves as infallible that I appreciate it when someone says, in effect, "buy this book, even though I can't remember if I read all of it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Due to the speed of deliver, your service it has allowed me to get on with my strategy and plans for launch the business targeting people, particularly at universities, to gain wealth from their writing. Great book and I am looking forward to put it on the reading list, as part of the marketing and sales plans.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x95925dd4) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95068a2c) out of 5 stars Less wonderful than his first two books 11 Jan. 2012
By J. Schimel - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Writing Tools" was brilliant--an essential for everyone who wants to write seriously. I reread it regularly and I use ideas from it in my own work and teaching. I thought "The Glamour of Grammar" was also excellent--a clear voice and insights that can elevate your writing. I found "Help! for Writers" less wonderful than those two books. Maybe because it covers a lot of the same ground as "Writing Tools," but perhaps by covering 210 items instead of 50, many entries are shorter and seemed shallower; or perhaps, I'd already gotten the points from his other books. Considering how wonderful Clark's first books are, however, being "less wonderful" still leaves this head-and-shoulders above most other guides for writers. The information is clear, valuable, and fun to read.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9544d984) out of 5 stars For Everyone Who Suffers from Writer's Block 29 Sept. 2011
By Sheri Newton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Help! for Writers by Roy Peter Clark is an essential tool for writers to use when working on a project, or trying to work on one and experiencing some form of writer's block. If you're a writer, this book should be on your desk or in your bookshelf.

Help! for Writers has 210 different problems and solutions to writing. If you're a writer, you know that many things can "block" you from doing what you should be doing - writing. You might not have an idea to write about, you might be bad with deadlines, or you might be experiencing many other things that happen when trying to write. This book has solutions to most of the problems that writers experience when writing, so if you're stuck and unable to write, just grab this book and try out some of the ideas suggested to get you writing again.

Overall, I think that this book is a must read for every writer. Roy Peter Clark gives many great ideas on getting inspiration to write, and how to overcome the dreaded writer's block. This book should really be on the desk, or in the bookshelf of every writer's workspace. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Help! for Writers, Little, Brown and Company, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96ea5a68) out of 5 stars wonderful writer's book 3 Mar. 2012
By thomas andrew - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have read over fifty books to help writers and this was one of the very best. Not only fun to read with many references and anecdotes (not antidotes), but filled with practical advise on how to enhance the process of writing. Mr. Clark comes across as someone you want to learn from and then delivers help that can be utilized in a clear, concise, constructive manner. I highly recommend this book to all writers.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9504f840) out of 5 stars Practical advice for writers of all levels 29 Sept. 2011
By Gaby at Starting Fresh blog - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I gravitate towards books on writing and grammar in the hope that I'll become a better writer and reduce the tension and procrastination that often characterize a major deadline. Unfortunately, while I tend to be optimistic about improving my writing, much as I tend to look for the latest fitness books in the hope that this will encourage me to "be more disciplined and healthier", my follow through often falls short.

If you write and have reached the point where you feel ready to show your work to friends and critics, I know that you will benefit from the advice that Roy Clark offers above.

If you are still "working on" your writing, Help! For Writers provides practical advice and a technical approach to writing and thinking about writing. When writing and editing, we try to pare our language down to the essentials, much the way that artists, creatives, and even lawyers reduce their ideas to the essential elements. Clark suggests specific ways to do this, to reduce the unnecessary parts.

I'm a timid writer. I tend towards putting things away, disappointed by the first draft. But chapter 11 "My early drafts are littered with cliches" helped me put things in perspective. The advice encourages us to realize that even mistakes and weaknesses can be used to bring us closer to our writing goals. Clark encourages clear thinking and careful use of language directly and through his tips and exercises.

While some books target a specific goal, such as writing a screenplay or a novel in several steps or using certain structures, Help! For Writers points out that "the writer does not have to get all Gothic to build cathedrals of words. On many occasions, the holy trinity of beginning, middle, and end will get the job done." Clark has gentle suggestions to help look at our problems and roadblocks and learn from them. Clark gives us examples from other writers which made the concepts concrete. Help! For Writers encourages us to write and gives specific and practical advice geared towards getting us to keep writing and to become better writers.

ISBN-10: 0316126713 - Hardcover $22.99
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (September 21, 2011), 304 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x954c82c4) out of 5 stars full of good, practical tips that can help writers of ALL types! 24 Feb. 2012
By MSEreads - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This easily laid out text covers tips for writing from "Getting Started" to "Finding Focus" to "Building a Draft", and all the way to the final chapter, "Keeping the Faith." Each of seven chapters is broken into three subsections that key in on specific topics to help a writer move along in the right direction. This starts with the basics like finding ideas in everyday situations, researching, and organizing ideas and research. Next the author directs focus to beginning, looking for the right language, then building a draft. Once you are into the piece you need to assess your progress and determine how to meet your deadlines. Clark address 'sagging' middles and getting the ending right. Finally you get to learn to accept criticism, improve by revising and editing. The author gives tips to get around writer's block and gives encouragement to `keep the faith.'

The style of this book is engaging and easy to follow. I had marked a good half dozen tips before I was halfway through the book. I particularly liked the section on looking for language, finding fitting words and pacing by the use of sentence structure. Also I liked the suggestions on defining the ending and then working towards that with the beginning and middle. Sort of backing into the story from the desired result. I know that not everyone writes that way as many authors are "pansters" and say how the characters lead them in the story. But working to a goal makes sense to me.

I picked this to read as I was sure I could get some tips from it. I don't write fiction although I do write legal briefs or memoranda now and then and there were tips applicable for that. Also I write reviews and I found tips and ideas that help for review writing too. I recommend this book to anyone who writes no matter the genre or whether you write for fun or professionally. Sorry I'm not giving this one away since it's one I can keep on the shelf and use now and again.
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