Sparky here with a quick review. Page-by-page, I’m currently going through ‘Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer’ by Roy Peter Clark. I’m finding it immensely useful.
Clark approaches writing from both a philosophical and practical standpoint: ‘Writing is a craft you can learn,’ he explains. ‘You need tools, not rules.’ With four different levels of tools at your disposal—’Nuts and Bolts’, ‘Special Effects’, ‘Blueprints’ and ‘Useful Habits’—the wide variety of tips and tricks covered will help to improve your writing on both a macro and micro level.
Using too many ‘-ing’ words? Not using repetition often enough to create a sense of continuity? Don’t know how to recruit a writing support group? You’ll find the answers dancing between these pages, as well as simple exercises to try at the end of each chapter. These tasks are designed to increase the reader’s awareness of their ingrained habits and help to break them. I really like that Clark goes to great lengths to demonstrate what ‘good writing’ is throughout, yet often points out exceptions his own rules.
This is a fine pick-up for a writer or editor with an already decent grasp of the basics (grammar and punctuation). I feel like the exercises have already changed how I write and revise my work. You will, too.
Note: Make sure to check out Clark’s website for a quick overview of the rules (a try-before-you-buy, as it were).
Until next time,