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Books by Roy Peter Clark

 

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Murder Your Darlings: And Other Gentle Writing Advice from Aristotle to Zinsser. New York: Little, Brown, 2020. This is a writing book about writing books. From a personal collection of more than one thousand books, I select fifty that have influenced my work as a writer and teacher in special ways. Harvesting books from ancient to modern times – from Aristotle to Zinsser – I distill more than 100 writing strategies you can add to your collection.

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The Art of X-Ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing.  New York:  Little, Brown, 2016.  This book explores how writers read.  Revisiting great works of literature – from Chaucer to Toni Morrison – I examine powerful texts with a kind of X-ray vision, looking down into the master texts to see and share the strategies that created them.

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How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.  New York: Little, Brown, 2013.  With writers of the digital age in mind, this book looks back on the enduring power of short writing from the beginning of written texts. Looking at both the craft and purposes of short writing – the how and the why – I offer hundreds of examples of the best short writing, from sonnets, proverbs, aphorisms, marginalia, and song lyrics to blog posts, text messages, and tweets.

 

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Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces.  New York: Little, Brown, 2011. Based upon the theory that most writers follow a similar process and face the same challenges, this book sets out seven steps of the writing process, three problems for taking each step, and ten practical solutions for each problem.  210 in all.  I describe the steps as getting started, getting your act together, finding focus, looking for language, building a draft, assessing your progress, an making it better.  A final word concerns “keeping the faith.”

 

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The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English.  New York: Little, Brown, 2010.  Fifty chapters on aspects of rhetorical grammar, that is, using technical aspects of language to make meaning in powerful ways. Sections include words, punctuation, standards, meaning, and purpose.  The New York Times dubbed it “a grammar manual for the twenty-first century.”

 

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Writing Tools:  55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. New York:  Little, Brown, 2006.  The first of six books I wrote for Little, Brown, all edited by Tracy Behar. A tenth-anniversary edition, published in 2016, adds five writing strategies to the original fifty.  More than 250,000 copies in print in several formats.  It has been translated into eight languages, including Mandarin and Arabic.  It offers practical writing wisdom, from nuts and bolts to special effects to blueprints to useful habits. 

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Roy's Other Books

Journalism -   The Democratic Craft Journalism:  The Democratic Craft.  With G. Stuart Adam.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2006.  An annotated anthology of more than 40 seminal essays on journalism and democracy, focusing on news judgment, the gathering of evidence, the appropriate use of language and narrative strategies, and the importance of critical thinking and interpretation.

Coaching WritersEditors and Reporters WorkingCoaching Writers: Editors and Reporters Working Together across Media Platforms.  With Don Fry. Boston / New York: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2003.  Perhaps the first book to take editing beyond the technical aspects of craft to include the human element.  Editors may have to fix broken stories, but more important is the mission of encouraging aspiring writers.

Journalism -   The Democratic CraftThe Changing South of Gene Patterson:  Journalism and Civil Rights, 1960 – 1968.  With Raymond Arsenault.  Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002. (New edition due in 2020.)  For eight years during the civil rights movement, Gene Patterson wrote a signed column for the Atlanta Constitution every single day.  This collection reveals what happens when a master writer – with moral and physical courage – attaches himself to a noble cause.

America's Best Newspaper Writing​America’s Best Newspaper Writing(second edition).  With Christopher Scanlan.  New York: Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2006. Since 1979 the Poynter Institute has helped the American Society of Newspaper Editors conduct their Distinguished Writing Awards.  This is a collection of the best work over three decades, with accompanying essays and commentary.

Free to WriteFree to Write:  A Journalist Teaches Young Writers. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann Educational Books, 1987.  In the early 1980s, I spent many days as a volunteer writing teacher in Florida public schools.  For 29 consecutive summers I conducted writing camps for students and teachers. This book describes what I learned.

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