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

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  291 ratings  ·  61 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 his
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  291 ratings  ·  61 reviews


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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
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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.
Jules
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-
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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
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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
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
Ivan Kreimer
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookshelf
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
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.
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.
Audrey
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.
minitalesfairies
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.
Ilena Bickley
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good advice for all types of writing.
Yoshiki
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: skimmed
Maybe helpful to aspiring writers.
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
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
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
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Steff
Dec 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Ben
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know how to rate this book to be honest, so I chose the middle ground. The truth is that I was able to take several lessons from this book and look with new perspective into different ways of writing. Mainly from author voice, organization and forgiving yourself for missing goals or deadlines, just start again. Either way I feel this book is helpful towards my writing, but I do not know how eventful this reading is or will become for this is the first book I've read on writing ass ...more
Marcie
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
...more
Bev
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Cheryl Malandrinos
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
...more
Nikolas Larum
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Lays out the writing process in seven steps: getting started, getting your act together, finding focus, looking for language, building a draft, assessing your progress, making it better, and keeping the faith. He peppers the entire text with practical advice, insights from writers and editors, and personal anecdotes. As is often the case in reading about writing, I am very encouraged by the confirmation of techniques that I am already employing (e.g., not writing yourself out, organizing researc ...more
Harish Puvvula
I liked the previous works of Roy Peter Clark; however, this book failed to resonate with my expectations. I didn't read the blurb nor the jacket cover of the book before I bought it. I expected it to be along the lines of his previous books: the Glamour of Grammar, and Writing Tools. I am tad disappointed. There are portions of the book I liked, not because they stated something radically new, but they reinforced a few percepts of penmanship.

My rating could alter when I look at the book with fr
...more
Jess of the Silver Sword
This book was ok. I had high expectations after I read Clark's Writing Tools, which is probably one of the best writing books I've read. Help! was more aimed toward reporters, it seems. I thought to myself repeatedly, man, I wish I'd read this back when I was on my high school newspaper staff! I mean, Clark does address a lot of writing issues, he just seems to emphasize ones that pertain most to reporters. I still got some good writing advice from the book, such as how to twist cliches, but it ...more
Renee
May 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.

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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