Thursday, September 22, 2011

HELP! FOR WRITERS by Roy Peter Clark -- A Review And Giveaway

No matter what we write, we all could use a little help from time to9780316126717_1681X2544 time.

Author Roy Peter Clark has created a useful tool in his latest release, HELP! FOR WRITERS, 210 SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS EVERY WRITER FACES.

Clark outlines 7 steps of the writing process and sections the book to tackle these elements. The steps include: Getting Started, Getting Your Act Together, Finding Focus, Looking For Language, Building A Draft, Assessing Your Progress, and Making It Better. There is an addition section entitled, Final Step: Keeping The Faith.

Clark points out the 21 most urgent problems writers face. For each of these problems, he offers 10 short solutions.

An example found in the Looking for Language section: Clark discusses the use of clichés. He tells how to use them, change them, and avoid them at times. Also in that section, he suggests the use of an imaginary friend to help you simplify your message.

In the Building A Draft section, Clark suggests “Write as fast as you can for ten minutes -- without stopping.” He also recommends trying a new place to write if you’re blocked while writing at your usual writing space.

Kenny IrbyThe end of the book offers a list of Clark’s 25 favorite writing books and a brief explanation of each. 

This is an ideal book for any writer or anyone considering a writing career.

Clark, a Ph.D. in medieval literature, is Vice President and Senior Scholar of the world-renowned Poynter Institute. The author or editor of 14 professional books, he is founding director of the National Writer's Workshops, regional conferences that attract 5,000 writers annually. His 50 tools, published in abbreviated form on the Poynter Website (, have already gained foothold worldwide. 

Thanks to Anna and the great folks at Little, Brown and Company, I have 3 copies of the hardcover, 304-page HELP! FOR WRITERS (ISBN:978-0-316-12671-7) to giveaway. The contest is only open to resident of the U.S. and Canada, and no P.O. Boxes can be accepted for addresses. Winners are subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win the same title in 2 or more contests, you will receive only 1 copy of the title in the mail. One new guideline Little, Brown and Company has added is that a phone number is required if you are a Canadian winner.

To enter the contest, send me an e-mail ( with ‘Win HELP! For Writers’ in the subject line. In the body of the e-mail include your name and mailing address. Remember, if you’re Canadian be sure to include a phone number. Just so you know, I don’t share these e-mails with anyone or use the information from them for anything else. The deadline to enter this contest is 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, Oct. 7.


HELP! For Writers, 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces by Roy Peter Clark, Little, Brown and Company, @2011, ISBN: 978-0-316-12671-7, Hardcover, 304 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book as part of the author’s virtual blog tour. It was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

What are your thoughts on using reference books when writing (books, blog posts or just a note to a friend)?


  1. fabulous and most HELPFUL give-away!

    Thank you!!

  2. Mason - Thanks for sharing this! It sounds like a very useful writing tool!

  3. Reference books are a great tool to have on hand. It's a good idea to have a couple close by while working.

  4. I'm going to look for this in the iBookstore!

  5. Oh, oh, I'm torn between wanting to support the writer by buying a book and want to WIN the book.

    Great review.

  6. I heard about this book just recently. I'm all for books like this. I also like that he includes a list of his favorite writing books.

    I would love to win this one. Thanks for the giveaway.



  7. this looks a most excellent book - I will look for it.

  8. I've used dictionaries and a thesaurus, but that's it.
    lvsgund at


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.