Book Review–Clark. Writing Tools.

Book Review–Clark.

Clark, Roy Peter.  2006.  Writing tools: 50 essential strategies for every writer.  Little Brown and Company, New York.  260p.

Clark argues that writing is more a craft than an art.  He introduces 50 tools that are useful for writing fiction, nonfiction, and both.  The 50 chapters are clear, succinct, and well-illustrated with examples from work by Clark and other authors.

The book is divided into four parts:  Nuts and Bolts, Special Effects, Blueprints, and Useful Habits.  Each chapter is followed by workshop exercises.

Clark’s tools can be used for fiction, nonfiction, and combinations of the two.  Tool 25 describes and illustrates the difference between reports and stories. “Use one to render information, the other to render experience.”  Clark shows how the reporter’s five Ws and H shift their meaning for the storyteller. And he illustrates how writers combine the meanings to produce powerful effects.

Tool 50 presents a simple blueprint to guide the use of the tools.  The blueprint divides writing into five sequential steps that lead to finished products.

Other writing texts cover Clark’s tools from different angles and with different examples.  I think many beginning writers will find Clark’s argument and his clear style will give them confidence and techniques they can use to construct their own projects.

Recommended.  Find this book and others on writing at the Writer’s Bookstore.

Saving Wildlife: Species Checklists

Introduction:  The Human Impact

The growing human population is wiping out Earth’s resources and many plant and animal species.  Scientists are calling this the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.  They say that we are extinguishing species between 100 and 1,000 times faster than the average rate throughout Earth history.

We can’t seem to do anything about the human population boom, so we can’t stop species extinctions.  We can sometimes intervene to save a species.  We can return species to places they formerly occupied, and we can protect or restore damaged habitats.  Of course, we have to know that species are declining before we can decide to intervene.  The only way to know how most species are doing is to conduct repeated field surveys.  On foot, clipboard in hand. Continue reading

Grammar and Composition

I removed Grammarly from my computer. It caused MS Word to stutter and hesitate, and it took too long to produce anything useful.

Grammarly spent most of its time making ridiculous synonym suggestions. And it wasted my time with circular suggestions.  When I followed Grammerly’s suggestion for revising a sentence, I sometimes got a new suggestion that would reproduce the original construction. I did like the “squinting modifier” advice, but not the hour the program took to find and point out the single occurrence. Grammarly gets a laugh or two, but I cannot recommend it for serious writing.

Richard Nordquist,

I do recommend the Grammar & Composition articles by Richard Nordquist on Five stars.