I am super excited about this review because I loved this book so much. Am I crazy? Quite possibly.
Title: Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
Author: Roy Peter Clark
Publisher/Price: Little, Brown and Company/$13.00 here
Number of pages: 260
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Format: For obvious reasons, there are 50 small chapters in this book about each tool. These are further divided into four parts from "Nuts and Bolts" to "Useful Habits." At the end of each chapter, there is a short list of exercises to practice or better understand the tool discussed in that chapter. This is definitely the book for those who might want to improve their writing, but don't want to have to read a very long, intense book filled with five-dollar-words. The chapters are bite-size and you can just sit down and read one a day if you want.
Overview: As the title implies, this is a book of writing tools, not rules. The author doesn't completely do away with rules in writing, but suggests that tools are far more useful for writers. The 50 tools he explains are divided into four parts: "Nuts and Bolts," "Special Effects," "Blueprints," "Useful Habits." He starts with the basics and ends with habits that are useful especially if you are a writer who actually writes things to be published. Over 200 samples are used throughout the book to demonstrate the author's point and they help you really understand the tool. Anyone from a student like me who loves to write and wants to improve to a professional who is looking for a refresher course will find this book beneficial and enjoyable.
My thoughts: I really loved this book. Sometimes I have a hard time finishing books about writing or grammar, not because I don't like them or decide they're boring, but just because they fail to hook me or keep me entertained and have to return to the library before I've finished them. I was really impressed by this one, though, because I kept going back to it when I had a minute to spare and thoroughly enjoyed (almost) every chapter. All of the tools are things that seem really easy to implement into whatever you write whenever. This book also helped me become more aware when I read something I liked as to why I liked it. The part of this book I didn't love was the last part called "Useful Habits." The tools in that section were more like good ideas for people who write stuff to get published or for journalists, but there is still some good advice in there for the hobbyist writer, too. I was super excited to find a quick list of all the tools in the back of the book that I copied and will keep handy whenever I've got something to write. Overall, I loved this book a lot and will definitely read it again. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone – even if you don't think you'll like it.