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4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  2,891 Ratings  ·  287 Reviews
One of America's most influential writing teachers offers a toolbox from which writers of all kinds can draw practical inspiration.

"Writing is a craft you can learn," says Roy Peter Clark. "You need tools, not rules." His book distills decades of experience into 50 tools that will help any writer become more fluent and effective.

WRITING TOOLS covers everything from the mo
Hardcover, 268 pages
Published 2011 by Ajour (first published September 1st 2006)
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بثينة العيسى
لهذا الكتاب أهمية خاصة. فبعد صدور "لماذا نكتب" و"الزن في فن الكتابة"، صرنا أكثر مقدرة على الحديث عن الكتابة بصفتها صنعة، ومناقشة أدواتها بصفتها احتمالات متاحة أمام الكاتب، ينبغي عليه أن يختار منها ما يتوافق مع نصّه وفق شروطه الفنية. أعتقد بأن الكتب العربية التي تتناول هذا الموضوع نادرة جدًا، وكثير منها يسطّح المعالجة أكثر مما يجب. روي بيتر كلارك يستنبط أدواته من النموذج ولا يسقط النموذج على أدواته. إن الأدب هو دائمًا سابق على التنظير في الأدب، ولكن هذا لا يلغي الأهمية البالغة لكتابٍ مثل هذا، إذ ...more
Jaycruz Cruz
Sep 09, 2010 Jaycruz Cruz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
Before Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer became an actual book, the tools were a series of blog posts Roy Peter Clark wrote over at The version I've read were those original 50 blog posts collected in PDF form. You can find all the original collected posts here and if you want to you can download the PDF from my Dropbox folder here.

From what you can see on the actual book's table of contents there are some differences from the the names of the tools and how it
Douglas Wilson
Feb 19, 2017 Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wordsmithing
This was a very fine book on writing. Some really shrewd wisdom in this thing. One of my favorites is this: Choose words the average writer avoids but the average reader understands. Rarely used words are not the same thing as unknown words.
morning Os
May 09, 2009 morning Os rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I am an international student who had never been surrounded by native English speakers until the age of 22. I ended up studying humanities in an American phd program. Imagine how stressful writing is for someone like me. I have been struggling to acquire the instinct and intuition you guys have when you judge "good" and "bad" writings. This book is helping me a lot understand, step by step, what constitutes good English sentences, paragraphs and chapters. The examples are brilliant. They not onl ...more
May 28, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend for anyone who wants inspiration & splendidly helpful tools for polishing your writing! It even has sections for dealing with that nagging critic in our heads and how to handle negative criticism from others.

"The receptive writer must convert debate into conversation. A debate ends with a winner and a loser. A conversation can conclude with both sides learning, and a promise of more good talk to come."
Mar 26, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is the book about?
"Think of writing as carpentry, and consider this book your toolbox. You can borrow a writing tool at any time"

Cool. How should I use these tools?
"Do not try to apply these tools all at once"

What's the best tool of them all?
"The most powerful tool on your workbench is oral reading"

So these tools will make me sound smarter?
"The writer cannot make something clear until the difficult subject is clear in the writer's head. Then, and only then, does she reach into the writer'
Sep 04, 2012 Karsten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sabbatical-reads
Clark's book is about more about style than content or correctness. And the 50 strategies are so practical, readable, entertaining, and genuinely helpful that writing with “style” becomes just as substantial and reachable a goal as writing good content with correctness.

That's fantastic. The book gets the fifth star, though, for its outstanding structure/organization. Clark has built this book like a fractal image: Its pattern and value is the same from far as from near, and it’ll make you a bett
May 17, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding book for anyone who writes or wants to be a writer. I attended two seminars put on by the author at the Tucson Festival of Books, and new immediately I had to have this book.

It's broken down into four parts...Nuts and Bolts; Special Effects; Blueprints; and Useful Habits. From the 4 subtitles, you can see it goes beyond just good grammar and proper usage. It is designed to not only help your writing, but improve your writing habits and give you new ways to think about your writing
Dec 26, 2011 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book does what its title suggests, meticulously presents all the tactics that are often used by professional and savvy writers. With a succinct and informative table of contents, this book can serve as a dictionary of writing, readers can locate what tactics they are interested in, explore it without reading the book cover to cover ( although the book is good enough for you to do so). Introducing from the basic knowledge of sentence structure to the board field of writers' habits, the author ...more
Jun 11, 2012 J.L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is essential reading for every beginning writer. Roy Clark provides the writer fifty tools with which to improve her craft. The chapters are short, informative, and funny and written in a style to illustrate a particular tool. He also provides brief exercises at the end of each chapter—not just writing, but cool exercises like observing people—to spur your thinking or to help increase your understanding.

The passage that resonated with me was his advice to not implement everything in t
Sotiris Makrygiannis
A nice book, full with 50 techniques on how to write a book.
Every so often in life you come across something that makes you pause and think, "Okay, this is really something. This is how it's done." Sometimes it's a movie, like The Matrix with all it's dazzling special effects, stylish art, and mysterious story. Sometimes it's a new technique like the Fosbury Flop at the 1968 Olympics, stealing the show and changing how everyone does the high jump from then on. Sometimes it's whatever you call it when you release a seminal rock album like Sgt. Pepper's an ...more
Dan Richter
Dec 14, 2014 Dan Richter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english, self-help
Das beste Buch zum Thema Schreiben, das ich bisher gelesen habe. (Gut, viel mehr als fünf waren es bisher auch nicht.)
Statt mit starren Regeln voranzumarschieren, öffnet Clark seine Werkzeugkiste. Er beginnt mit dem scheinbar Einfachsten, zum Beispiel Wort-Reihenfolge oder das Verhältnis von Aktiv- und Passivkonstruktionen. Clark zeigt, wie Aufzählungen funktionieren und wann sie nicht funktionieren. Er zeigt, was passiert, wenn man diese Regeln aus Unvermögen bricht und vor allem, wie man sie g
Dec 28, 2016 Mohammad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
توی کتاب هایی که تا حالا در مورد نوشتن خوندم، این بهترین بوده.
کتاب به چهار بخش تقسیم شده: نکات ریز، جلوه های ویژه، طرح ها و عادات خوب نویسندگی.
توی بخش اول یاد می ده چطور جمله بندی کنیم تا تاثیر دلخواه رو از نوشته خودمون به دست بیاریم. چطور تعلیق ایجاد کنیم. چطور جمله رو قوی تر و صریح تر کنیم. چطور از اشتباهات متداول اجتناب کنیم و مواردی مثل این.
توی بخش دوم در مورد سرعت نقل ماجرا، لحن گفتار، دیدگاه و مواردی مثل این صحبت می کنه. لحن نوشته توی نوشته های داستانی در برابر نوشته های غیرداستانی، نحوه
Oct 29, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love to read, and I love to write. I especially love to read about writing.

On my way back from a hockey game in Wilkes-Barre one night, I stopped for gas. On top of the gas pump I was using, sat this book. It was in rough shape - wet, discolored, etc. If it had been a book about anything else, I leave it right where it was. But since it was about writing, I took it home.

And I'm glad I did.

This book is on par with Strunk & White, "On Writing", and "Bird by Bird", as far as instructional wri
Aug 05, 2010 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw Roy Peter Clark speak at Teachers College last year during a professional development day focused on helping my students advance as writers. Although I walked away with a lot of fantastic ideas for my classroom, I was equally inspired as a writer myself to "raise the level" of my own writing. His book, Writing Tools, is fantastic and I would recommend it for any writer, but particularly for those in the midst of revision. It feels a little silly to put it on my "read" shelf, as I will cont ...more
Rebecca Clark
Jul 16, 2015 Rebecca Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How is this not required reading for all writers? All students? All teachers of writing? LOVED IT. Stealing so many this year...and the best part is you barely have to think of how you'll take his fantastic structure in each chapter and mold it into a mini-lesson pronto -- or keep right alongside you for writing conferences. STELLAR. Still hoping to run into him each summer we're in St. Pete.
Aimee Meester
3.5 - good reminders and solid writing, but I knew most of it already and a lot of it addresses more nonfiction rather than stories.
S.C. Barrus
May 18, 2017 S.C. Barrus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This book was everything I hoped it would be. 50 tools for writers ranging from sentence structure techniques to research and preparation for the big book.

I felt like I became a better writer by the time I reached the 20th tool, which is a testament to how useful these strategies are. There were a few lessons I was able to apply right away, others that took some thought and gestation, and still others that were lost in the wealth of information. I'll be reading this one again, I'm sure.

So if you
Katrina Sark
Nov 26, 2016 Katrina Sark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
p.11 – Begin sentences with subjects and verbs. Make meaning early, then let weaker elements branch to the right.
p.14 – Workshop: Read through the New York Times or your local newspaper with a pencil in hand. Mark the locations of subjects and verbs. Do the same in your writing. The next time you struggle with a sentence, rewrite it by placing subject and verb at the beginning.
p.15 – Order words for emphasis. Place strong words at the beginning and at the end. Strunk and White’s The Elements o
Rebecca Graf
Apr 04, 2012 Rebecca Graf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a writer or even a want to be writer, chances are you still can learn something new. If you’re like me, you can learn a lot of new things to help your writing. One great way is to read what other successful writers have learned over the years. I’ve gotten several books over the last few months and Roy Peter Clarks’ Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer is a resource that might just help you.

This is not a book that holds your hand and walks you through steps. Each cha
I've read so many books about writing that I'm inevitably jaded anytime I pick up a new one. Well, I'm pleased to say that the rather generically-titled Writing Tools knocked out all my expectations. It's a bit bloody good.

Admittedly, this is because it acts as a cliff's notes version of manymany other writing books. Roy Peter Clark swipes the best advice from Natalie Goldberg, Dorothea Brand, John Gardner et al, and boils down their wisdom into short, snappy articles. This is a great book to re
Nov 17, 2012 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a nice mix of nuts-and-bolts and practical writing techniques, all distilled into neat, 3-5 page chapters, each devoted to a "tool." In each short chapter, Clark provides excerpts from stories, novels, essays, newspaper and magazine articles as examples. Then he ends each chapter with three or four "workshop" ideas to practice that writing tool. Some tools will be familiar to anyone who reads about writing or teaches it (e.g. "Activate your verbs," "Prefer the simple over the technical," an ...more
Einar Nielsen
Jun 14, 2015 Einar Nielsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really well set up and that is in fact its strongest feature. There are 50 short chapters that can be easily accessed and each with a short workshop at the end. This is the type of book that should be on your desk for easy access. But that being said it is not as good as Stein on Writing or Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, both of which are fantastic. If you are shopping around for books on writing I would at leas begin with those two and then maybe move on to this one. Like I said ...more
C.M. Subasic
If you write you need this book.

Roy Peter Clarke's focus is on providing a writer a box of tools. From copy editing to point of view and project management of writing projects, his insights and common sense approach make this the most useful writing book I've seen in years. His background point of contact is in journalism, but the lessons can be applied to all writing styles.

My personal favourite is the chapter on generating a story question. Here, he talks about the "story engine" -- a concep
Writer Ace
Jul 11, 2013 Writer Ace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most writing books fall short in terms of actually ANALYZING techniques used by different writers to make their prose sing. This one picks off technique after technique, showing examples and giving exercises to try with each. It's the first writing book I've ever seen identify a technique I first noticed in Scott Russell Sanders' work--mucking with the third element in a parallel series of three on purpose. While he didn't use any of Sanders' work, he did show examples of it at play in other wr ...more
Tool 10 - Cut big, then small. (Prune the big limbs, then shake out the dead leaves.)

Tool 14 - Get the name of the dog. (Dig for the concrete and specific, details that appeal to the senses.)

Tool 18 - Set the pace with sentence length. (Vary sentences to influence the reader's speed.)

Tool 23 - Tune your voice. (Read stories aloud.)

Tool 28 - Put odd and interesting things next to each other. (Help the reader learn from contrast.)

Tool 31 - Build your work around a key question. (Stories need an en
Graeme Roberts
Nov 12, 2016 Graeme Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am sad that it took ten years from publication to find this excellent book. I loved it as much for the delectation of the examples as for the obvious usefulness of the tools. And the Workshop at the end of each chapter provides exercises that are useful simply to think about, though I plan to do them more rigorously in my next reading. Don't ignore them; they are nothing like the mindless problems in textbooks.

Everyone who ever writes anything, personal or professional, should keep it on hand.
Peter N.
May 01, 2013 Peter N. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Clark gives the writer a toolbox of ideas that range from how to arrange sentences to foreshadowing to working with an editor. All the chapters are short with questions at the end to spur further thought. He arranges the material well so the reader can easily reference a portion of the book later. He demystifies the writing process, as well. The reader leaves believing that he can write well if he takes the time and uses the right tools. Writing tools is an excellent ...more
David Williams
Apr 13, 2011 David Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came to this book via Roy's audio programmes on iTunes U (which are also excellent, and free to download). I had never heard of him before, but was so impressed by the extracts that I bought the book - which is even better. Very accessible, yet not at all superficial, each tool is illustrated by hit-the-mark examples. A practical guide that will improve any writer's work, at any level or genre - I know it has improved mine. Highly recommended.

Reviewer David Williams has a regular writer's blo
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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
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“Everyone should read, we say, but we act as if only those with special talent should write.” 8 likes
“If a period is a stop sign, then what kind of traffic flow is created by other marks? The comma is a speed bump; the semicolon is what a driver education teacher calls a “rolling stop”; the parenthetical expression is a detour; the colon is a flashing yellow light that announces something important up ahead; the dash is a tree branch in the road.” 4 likes
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