Review: ‘Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer’ by Roy Peter Clark

50 Essential Wriiting Tools

Dear Readers,

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.

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Review: ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind

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Patrick Suskind’s Perfume is an epic novel built in and of the realm of the senses, though focusing primarily on the sense of smell. Odour is used as a singular writing device and its theme permeates the novel – at times sickeningly saccharine and at others artfully mixed into the piece. When the mix becomes divine, we follow antagonist Grenouille on his sensate journey so closely that we almost become part of his inner world.  In so viewing, we are allowed a closer glimpse of his unique and thoroughly twisted viewpoint – we waft with him on his murderous search for the perfect scent.

Set in France, the novel opens with a blatant olfactory description of the stench that must have exuded from the pre-hygienic Paris of the 1700’s; we are immediately dropped into this fetid, aromatic world:

In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women.
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Review: ‘Black House’ by Stephen King & Peter Straub

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King and Straub once again combine literary forces to write a sequel to 1984’s ‘The Talisman’.

In The Talisman, 12 year old Jack Sawyer ventures out from Arcadia Beach, New Hampshire on a quest to find a magical crystal known as The Talisman. It contains the power to save his mother, who is dying of cancer. Taught by a mysterious figure known as Speedy Parker to ‘flip’ between Earth and another world referred to as ‘The Territories’, Jack encounters his mother’s ‘twinner’, Queen Laura DeLoessian.

The ‘twinner’, a person’s identical self in parallel world, is also dying, meaning that Jack’s quest is also important to the future of ‘The Territories’. During his travels and up to the ultimate ending in the multi-dimension Agincourt Hotel, Jack realises there are not just two worlds but many.

This theme carries through to other of King and Straub’s novels and continues with Black House. Continue reading