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

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  331 ratings  ·  71 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 h
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Little, Brown Spark (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Gaby
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
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
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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
...more
LuAnn
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
William Schram
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Roy Peter Clark is a writer. He has written a number of books based on writing as a subject and how to improve. In that same vein, he wrote this particular book on how to get past various writing obstacles. Whether you are writing for an assignment or for yourself, this book has tons of help available.

The book goes over the process of producing a written work and comes up with plenty of ways to become better or produce better work.

There isn’t really much else to say about this book. I liked it f
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Annie
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I give this book 3.5 stars but rounded it up to 4 stars. The advice is probably best for journalists and non-fiction writers. Some of it is basic but might be useful to new writers.
Julie
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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-
...more
Michael Estey
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Adam
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
...more
M.A. Ray
Mostly relevant to journalists and nonfiction writers, I thought, but some very good insights on researching and organization in general.
Catherine
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I didn't like this book, until the 4th page. And then a lightbulb went off and wow. I began "getting it". I restarted and chose a chapter I thought would be of help of where I am as a writer. Ever so slowly I began. This time instead of rushing through to finish a chapter, I took a deep breath and began reading a small section of that chapter. My thinking began to see how it would help me as a writer. My mind wondered into my own use in the currently book I'm writing. It was a wonderful ...more
Ronna Jevne & Harold Martin
Roy Peter Clark suggests even good writers can "take wrong turns. The story is too long, the story is too short; there's too much material" and other barriers to getting on with writing including writer's block. The author offers seven simple categories through which to view your writing experience. None are new to a seasoned writer and are recognizable are realities of a writing life. Clark presents realistic, well structured interventions to transcend the common writing challenges into product ...more
Abby Derkson
I read this because I LOVED "The Art of X-Ray Reading." Fiction writers, read that instead for craft lessons. Better yet, check out the amazing audiobook by Jefferson Mays. I feel like this book couldn't decide if it wanted to be a manual for nonfiction (journalism) writing or fiction. In wanting to cover both boxes it skewed toward more helpful to nonfiction. This would have been great to read as a news reporter in college. As an aspiring fiction writer, this left a lot to be desired and wasn't ...more
Mark Mathes
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roy Peter Clark's book helps you with more than "210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces." Nearly two dozen chapters headline the problem you're facing. He helps "get your act together" and "find the focus." Short chapters often end with summaries, reflections, bullet lists and more. He is indeed America's writing coach. I have been lucky to participate in his seminars and hear him speak, most recently at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading in November 2019. You'll find quick help a ...more
Ivan Kreimer
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A useful manual for writers who want tips on how to become better at one's craft. I gave it 4 stars because it's not as useful as the advice Roy Peter Clark laid out in his previous book, Writing Tools. This book seemed (and the author seemed to confirm that in the book) as it was written randomly, without a clear target goal. There's no one thing you can take away, but random — yet still good — tips for different situations writers often go through. If you have never read anything from Clark, s ...more
Angelika
Sep 10, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-nonfiction
Honestly, I was gonna pass on this book, but the synopsis' advice on editing was to "watch the deleted scenes feature of a DVD, and ask yourself why those scenes were left on the cutting-room floor".
And that's actually a pretty lit idea.
It's supposedly directed more towards journalism, but there's a possibility of getting some useful tips regardless of that. I was ignoring journalism most of my life, but gained interest in it a while ago, so maybe this book could be of help to me in the future.
Meghan
A great and practical book on the craft of writing. Focuses on breaking through writer's block, how to best work with editors, ways to make manuscripts more concise and precise, ways to structure a story. Equally meant for journalistic writing as well as fiction writers. Solidly done and very useful.
Emilie
This is a book on journalism, and I picked it up because the inside cover makes it sound like it's about fiction writing. No doubt a good book if you're a journalist looking for writing advice (seriously, it's a very well organized book with practical concrete tips), just marketed inaccurately.
Kimberly Karalius
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lovely-facts
I was a bit bummed out that the advice in this book cane from more of a journalistic perspective (not as helpful for writing fiction), but the expense of advice and writing troubleshooting was pretty impressive!
Kay Miller Temple
For a content writer who writes in a modified journalistic style, this is a terrific book. It gave me insight into how I can tweak current writing approaches and many ideas that will not only shorten current research and writing approaches, but strengthen them.
Cheryl
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This book was okay. There were some helpful suggestions but overall I felt like it was tips I have read before.
Yoshiki
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: skimmed
Maybe helpful to aspiring writers.
Audrey Kelly
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Some of this book seemed to be pertinent to journalistic writing, which was unhelpful to me. However, I did jot down a few good nuggets of advice.
Ilena Bickley
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good advice for all types of writing.
Havelah McLat
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like this one the best. He had good suggestions. He help me to overcome the struggles I faces in my daily-life writing.
Daniel Higgins
Some overlap with 55 Tools book. But still lots of good tips here.
Terry Freedman
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-advice
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 sec
...more
AJ Dickens
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t read this one thoroughly, but I really do think it would be something good to have on hand if you’re a writer and you face a block. It has a lot of great suggestions worth a look!
Mayda
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Allie Smith
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
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,
...more
Rose
"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
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201 followers
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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