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Writing Tools

Writing Tools
50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

April 2008 | 245 pages | CQ Press
"Begin sentences with subjects and verbs," is the first tool in Roy Peter Clark's Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. "Own the tools of your craft," the last. Pithy, entertaining, and always straight-to-the-point, Writing Tools sandwiches 48 more useful tools in-between, on "Nuts and Bolts" (words and sentences) "Special Effects" (tricks of the trade), "Blueprints" (organizational strategies), and "Useful Habits" for successful writers. Informed by Clark's thirty years as a teacher, writer, and journalist, every tool bears the stamp of his experience and lighthearted wisdom—from the usefulness of the suggestions (Tool 14: "Get the name of the dog") to the clarity of the prose itself.

As fun to read as it is hands-on practical, it can be enjoyed straight-through or used as a reference as students draft, revise, and edit. Spiral-bound, the College Edition lays flat as students work at the computer, and at $16.95 suggested retail (after bookstore mark-up), Writing Tools is considerably less expensive than traditional writing textbooks. With over 30,000 copies sold to the mass-market, the College Edition is the perfect book to accompany a more comprehensive textbook, or for classrooms that don't use a traditional text at all.

Introduction: A Nation of Writers
1. Begin sentences with subjects and verbs.
2. Order words for emphasis.
3. Activate your verbs.
4. Be passive-aggressive.
5. Watch those adverbs.
6. Take it easy on the -ings.
7. Fear not the long sentence.
8. Establish a pattern, then give it a twist.
9. Let punctuation control pace and space.
10. Cut big, then small.
11. Prefer the simple over the technical.
12. Give key words their space.
13. Play with words, even in serious stories.
14. Get the name of the dog.
15. Pay attention to names.
16. Seek original images.
17. Riff on the creative language of others.
18. Set the pace with sentence length.
19. Vary the lengths of paragraphs.
20. Choose the number of elements with a purpose in mind.
21. Know when to back off and when to show off.
22. Climb up and down the ladder of abstraction.
23. Tune your voice.
24. Work from a plan.
25. Learn the difference between reports and stories.
26. Use dialogue as a form of action.
27. Reveal traits of character.
28. Put odd and interesting things next to each other.
29. Foreshadow dramatic events and powerful conclusions.
30. To generate suspense, use internal cliffhangers.
31. Build your work around a key question.
32. Place gold coins along the path.
33. Repeat, repeat, and repeat.
34. Write from different cinematic angles.
35. Report and write for scenes.
36. Mix narrative modes.
37. In short works, don’t waste a syllable.
38. Prefer archetypes to stereotypes.
39. Write toward an ending.
40. Draft a mission statement for your work.
41. Turn procrastination into rehearsal.
42. Do your homework well in advance.
43. Read for both form and content.
44. Save string.
45. Break long projects into parts.
46. Take an interest in all crafts that support your work.
47. Recruit your own support group.
48. Limit self-criticism in early drafts.
49. Learn from your critics.
50. Own the tools of your craft.
Writing Tools Quick List

Quality information for students

Dr Shelly R Legg
Agricultural Ed Comm Dept, Oklahoma State University
December 14, 2021

The book presents important strategies for improving the writing and publication practice of students.

Professor Alfred Zimmermann
Faculty of Informatics, Reutlingen University of Applied Sci
June 6, 2016

I would recommend this book to my Bachelor and Master students as an essential guide for scientific writing.

Professor Alfred Zimmermann
Faculty of Informatics, Reutlingen University of Applied Sci
May 26, 2015

useful writing tips provided

Dr Prem Heeralal
Dept of Further Teacher Education, University of South Africa
November 1, 2012

useful but only as supplement.

Mrs Sylvia Meijers
Management , The Hague University
April 20, 2011

For instructors

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ISBN: 9780872899636