Help! for Writers by Roy Peter Clark - Book review

Help! For Writers

210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces

By: Roy Peter Clark

Published: September 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0316126713
ISBN-13: 978-0316126717
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

"Writing is not magic. It's a craft, a process, a set of steps. As with any process, things sometimes break down. Even in a good story, the writer runs into problems. So the act of writing always includes problem solving", writes accomplished author, and Vice President and Senior Scholar of the world-renowned Poynter Institute, Roy Peter Clark,in his very comprehensive and hands on book Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces. The author provides a highly practical and step by step process, for solving even the most seemingly intractable writing problems, that restarts the creative process for even the most frustrated writer.

Roy Peter Clark understands that all authors face challenges and blockades at some point in the overall writing journey. Somewhere between the finding the idea and the conclusion of the work, the writer may find times where the story or narrative gets lost on the voyage. Instead of either telling the writer to simply work harder or find a new muse, Roy Peter Clark deconstructs the writing process into its component parts. As with any process, breakdowns can occur, and this book provides a repair and operating guide that offers real solutions to the most common writing challenges. Roy Peter Clark categorizes the most vexing issues, that are common to all writers and writing efforts, into user friendly segments that help the author create and complete the book with fewer headaches.

Roy Peter Clark (photo left) recognizes that writing and the act of creation are not some romantic vision from the great unknown, but a real process like any other building type. In this case, what is being developed and built is a story, that will result in a book that finds a reading audience. For Roy Peter Clark, the concept of process means that each step is likely to be repeated over and over, by every author that begins the book creation journey. The author examines and breaks down the writing process in the same way that a mechanic or carpenter would consider the various aspects of their own processes.

Roy Peter Clark examines the writing process through seven basic steps, that address similar problems and locations within the process, common to all authors:

* Getting started
* Getting your act together
* Finding focus
* Looking for language
* Building a draft
* Assessing your progress
* Making a draft

For me, the power of the book is how Roy Peter Clark reassesses the overall concept of writing, and the various obstacles that can prevent it taking place, and applies a systems analysis type solution. The author reinvents the entire premise of writing a book, as being one of a repeatable and manageable problem solving process. Through this critical insight, Roy Peter Clark transforms the entire dynamic of writing from one based on some romantic ideal of alleged flashes of creation, to one of finding solutions to frequently encountered writing challenges.

By breaking the process down into a series of steps and milestones, the Roy Peter Clark removes that sense of being overwhelmed by an incomprehensible project. Instead, the writing of a book becomes a series of everyday problems with proven solutions, with discernible milestones met and passed along the way to completion. The author also shares his list of favorite books on writing to help authors find additional information and ideas for their current and future book projects.

I highly recommend the essential and idea packed writers' guide book Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces by Roy Peter Clark, to any current or aspiring authors seeking real and readily applicable solutions to the most frequently encountered writing problems. This book provides a valuable source of techniques and strategies for overcoming those barriers to completion of the work.

Read the engaging and very hands on book Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces by Roy Peter Clark, and discover that writing a book shares much in common with other crafts, trades, and creative endeavors. Instead of being dependent on some distant and difficult to conjure muse, writing is a craft that can be involves a system of problems and solutions. This book will change the way you think about and approach the writing process. It will also help you and guide you toward the goal of a completed and ready to publish book.

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