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Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The craft of writing offers countless potential problems: The story is too long; the story's too short; revising presents a huge hurdle; writer's block is rearing its ugly head.

In HELP! FOR WRITERS, Roy Peter Clark presents an "owner's manual" for writers, outlining the seven steps of the writing process, and addressing the 21 most urgent problems that writers face. In hi
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Published September 21st 2011 by Little, Brown and Company
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I have always tinkered with my writing and seem to gravitate to books and classes that aid me in that pursuit. Back in October of 2010 I had the privilege of reviewing Mr. Clark's book The Glamour of Grammar. His newest offering is another book that will be residing next to that one on my bookshelf for years to come.

Roy Peter Clark's writing style is very easy for the reader to comprehend as well as enjoy. As in the previous book, he breaks the material down into bite-size chunks that the would-
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 t
Michael Estey
Help for Writers!

by Roy Peter Clark

A Book Review of Sorts

210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces

I came across this book at the library.
I love these self-help books, on writing.

You've just sat down at your desk,
You're facing your monitor,
ready to pour your heart out.
You've pulled up a clean white sheet of paper,
through the magic of Pages.( or Word )on your computer.
You've gotten all compfy.
Your fingers are resting on the keyboard.
Your wrists are placed evenly the desk.
You can fee
Alexandria Nicole
This book wasn't the best book I've ever read about writing, which I've only read a few, but it served it's purpose very well. It did exactly what you expected - it gave a lot of solutions to writing problems.

At points it gives specific advice or techniques that might work well for some people, but I like the fact that it stresses to kind of 'do your own thing'. It realizes not the same thing works for everyone but it gives you solutions you can try. Some solutions are precise like using noteca
Clark's book has a ton of good information that every writer should know about organizing and keeping things handy. Mostly not new to me, but always good to remember what's in the toolbox. (And I did actually start looking up word derivations when seeking inspiration)

One handy idea: List the questions you want to answer, or what you want the reader to take away.

Advice I've heard elsewhere and like to remember -- engage the senses. (And conflict them)

Interesting point if you want to write somethi
I teach writing classes and as a published author I almost blew this book off, but once I settled in to read I found Clark had included lots of great ideas I could use not only in my lectures, but also to motivate myself to keep writing. Well worth the time to read this one, even if you're an experienced author.
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
I had reserved Help! For Writers - 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces by Roy Peter Clark at the library for so many months that I forget now where I saw the recommendation for it, but having read it now, I'm a little disappointed.

The book promises 210 solutions however I found that Clark really just described them and talked about himself, and his own writing a whole lot of the time. His insistent reference to the writer as 'she' and 'her' all the time was both puzzling and annoyin
Allie Smith
This book was very helpful and surprisingly easy to read. The author, Roy Peter Clark, gave so many fun anecdotes about “the writing life” and all its foils, with humor and earnest insight. It’s not always as easy as it looks.
The Table of Contents reads like a text book, which made me nervous that reading the book will be like school work, but it’s not. His style and tone are pure fun and not the least bit condescending. I almost forgot I was getting “help”! Help I did get. He offers exercises,
"Help! For Writers" is certainly a writing guide I took quite a bit from. It addresses specific suggestions for different stages in the writing of a manuscript and how to remedy certain problems or blocks in their respective natures, whether it's in the planning stages, organization, or different segments of your work in progress. The advice is to the point, practical, and very easy to understand and put to use. I definitely appreciated being able to go through each section, and found it easy to ...more
You may not consider yourself a writer, and indeed, you may never be a published writer, but you write things all the time: to friends, to businesses, to co-workers. And, whether writing is your career, your art, or just your way of keeping in touch with Facebook pals, you can still benefit from Roy Peter Clark’s insightful guide to writing. His book, Help! for Writers, is based on the premise that most troubles with writing boil down to the same issues, which can therefore be solved with the sa ...more
I really have a love for writing and I have for many years. So, when I walked through the doors of my local library one day and this was on the shelf, it practically screamed at me to pick it up. Many of the tips in this book are useful for any writer out there, but a majority of the way things are explained are from a journalist point of view. If you're a fiction writer you'll still benefit from reading this book, but some parts might seem like a bit of a bore. That is the only reason I didn't ...more
I've read a lot of books on writers and writing. This one was a little different.

First, it was geared towards nonfiction and journalism, rather than fiction writers or novelists. There was a lot of advice on research, etc -- very useful for a historical fiction writer, even if that wasn't the original intent.

Second, it didn't really attempt to inspire or encourage. Fine with me -- there are plenty of those books out there. My guess? This book was either written by an engineer, or the child of en
I really enjoyed this book. Although I am not a writer by trade, I write at work every single day and I found the organization tips and structure tips really relevant to what I do.
I read the book in order from beginning to end, but I will definitely keep this book at hand to refer to specific sections as the need arises. The organization of the book is such that it is easy to find a section that deals with a particular challenge for easy reference. The examples and anecdotes were varied and kep
Loved it. You don't have to read it cover to cover for tips to benefit. A lot of advice I found was just through skimming the book for solutions and exercises to help the writing process. Text is engaging and humorous so you'll be in for some chuckles as you read along :-)
Cheryl C.
Vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, Clark shares his decades worth of experience with writers in this engaging and valuable volume that includes 210 solutions for problems writers face. From generating ideas to finding your focus to strategies for writers block and more, Help! For Writers is a must have text.

Clark speaks with authority from his vast experience, but he never talks down to the reader. Bits of humor are sprinkled throughout. While some of these ideas I had h
Easy read that encourages all types of writing. (I appreciate that news writing was given screen time.) I'm excited to put some of his tips into practice!
Walter Oh
Nothing we don't already know but still, a practical reminder and advice on writing.
Sehar  Moughal
Some very good points - majority tips provided in the book apply to fiction writers.
Brett Buckley
More general advice than fiction advice, but some stuff you can use.
Kevin J.
This book gets 3 stars mainly because it was heavily geared towards journalists and non-fiction writers. That's all well and good, if I were a nonfiction writer or journalist. I am not. 3 stars.
Help! For Writers is just that. I was hoping to learn something new and get me motivated to write again (it’s been awhile) and this book has some motivational tools and suggestions not only for those who have writer’s block, but those who procrastinate (me). It also gives ideas on how to find your ideas. At first, I thought it was a book to help those who write magazine articles, but it is so much more. I believe this book will be dog-eared and used over and over by many writers.
Kate McClare
These "210 solutions to the problems every writer faces" include what a less charitable coach would call excuses: from "I can't think of anything to write" to "I resent criticism and editing." Clark offers 10 solutions to each of the 21 problems he presents, an encouraging ratio for those of us who struggle daily with the word. His central premise: "Writing is not magic. . . . The big problems of writers are few in number and lend themselves to reliable solutions."
There were some good ideas in here, but the organization was frustrating. Each topic began with a summary that listed several main points and brief summaries of those. Then the main points were broken down further, one at a time, with more detailed summaries. All of the summarizing made it a slog to get through. It took me 6 months and I skimmed quite a bit near the end.

Find more book reviews at A Quick Red Fox.
Jennifer Louden
I'm a huge fan of Clark's other books about writing but this one felt thin to me. Many of his tips didn't translate a variety of writing genres and felt more helpful for reporters than say novelists. I found myself feeling ho-hum fairly often, and yet, I will keep it on my shelf and probably open it again.
Meh. Whatever. Offers obvious advice and suggestions. I got bored, starting skipping around and finally returned to the book I'm writing. It'll be a classic, it'll sell more copies than the Bible and will make me immortal. I kid. Seriously, though, there are better writing guides out there.
Alla  Watson
Many thanks to Goodreads First Reads for sending me this book!

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned, published writer, there are plenty of ideas and practical advise here to get you motivated and give that writer's block a kick in the backside.

I am so glad that i won this as a good reads first read giveaway. It is extremely helpful to any writer. I have learned some much that can help me in my novel writing process. Thank you goodreads for the chance to read this amazing book!
Some useful tips in here, but a lot of repetition. Also, the author seems to have tried to cater for all kinds of readers across the book, but ended up with many of the tips that are relevant only to certain specific types of writer.
Steven J.
Roy Peter Clark, though I've never met him personally, is amongst my very favorite teachers. His books, including this superior volume, have taught me more about writing than any other teacher I have ever known!
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By many accounts, Roy Peter Clark is America’s writing coach, a teacher devoted to creating a nation of writers. A Google search on his name reveals an astonishing web of influence, not just in the United States, but also around the world. His work has erased many boundaries. A Ph.D. in medieval literature, he is widely considered one of the most influential writing teachers in the rough-and-tumbl ...more
More about Roy Peter Clark...
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times America's Best Newspaper Writing: A Collection of ASNE Prizewinners Coaching Writers

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