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.