By: Marilyn L. Davis
One book that I continue to use is Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. Why? Because Clark is not only a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists, but also because much of his focus in on nonfiction and better writing.
- Nuts and Bolts: strategies for making meaning at the word, sentence, and paragraph level.
- Special effects: tools of economy, clarity, originality, and persuasion.
- Blueprints: ways of organizing and building stories and reports.
- Useful habits: routines for living the life of a productive writing.
At the end of each of the fifty essential strategies, there’s a workshop. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should do all of the exercises if I understood the premise of the chapter. However, when I took the time to do a few of them, then run the versions through a grammar program like Grammarly.com, I discovered that, in some cases, I didn’t grasp some of the more subtle nuances of the chapter.
Being a Generous Writer
The other thing that I value in this book is how generous Clark is in giving credit to other writers. Often he’ll reference another book that is more specific to a particular aspect of writing. For instance, I had not read A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker. While written as a college level guide, the exercises work for any writer.
One other book that Clark exposed me to is Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer. Many would pass this book up because it was written in 1934 and might be considered outdated. But what makes this book valuable is it deals with the inner workings of the writer’s mind, heart, and desire rather than technique. And those qualities do not get outdated.
Brande was ahead of her time in realizing that there is the craft and the art involved in the process of writing and that we must use both to create meaningful, educational, and entertaining posts for our readers.
We’re constantly told to find our passion, discover our niche, write what interests us, and stay true to our voice. Well, here’s one more word of advice on the subject of the writer’s purpose that isn’t current. “If you can discover what you like, if you can discover what you truly believe about most of the major matters of life, you will be able to write a story which is honest and original and unique.” Dorothea Brande
Which Books Do You Want Included?
Is there an author that you want to share with the readers at The Library Stacks at Two Drops of Ink?
We’d all appreciate a review of any book on the subject of writing that our readers can find on Amazon. We are only considering books available on Amazon for the time-being. If you’re uncertain if the book that’s helped you would work for a guest post, then consider:
- What books have helped you be honest in your writing?
- What book has helped you improve as a writer?
- Is there a standby book that you consult for writing issues?
- Do you have a go-to for grammar?
- What writer speaks to you?
Send a guest submission with The Library Stacks at Two Drops of Ink in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, and I look forward to more inspiring and educating books about the craft and art of writing.