Ready to revise? Use Roy Peter Clark’s 50 Writing Tools: Quick List to excise the bloat from your prose.
Self-editing is a skill that any writer can benefit from, though sometimes as writers, we don’t know what we don’t know. In other words, we struggle with precisely what to focus on to improve our writing. In times like these, we can use Roy Peter Clark’s 50 Writing Tools: Quick List as a starting point and a checklist to help us shape and hone our prose.
Based on Clark’s book, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, each tip is designed to improve either your writing or your writerly workflow.
While Clark wrote his tips with journalists in mind, there are plenty of great ideas for those who write flash fiction, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or prose. Here’s just a sample of some gold:
- No. 2: Order words for emphasis. Place strong words at the beginning and at the end.
- No. 7: Fear not the long sentence. Take the reader on a journey of language and meaning.
- No. 26: Use dialogue as a form of action. Dialogue advances narrative; quotes delay it.
- No. 29: Foreshadow dramatic events or powerful conclusions. Plant important clues early.
- No. 34: Write from different cinematic angles. Turn your notebook into a “camera.”
Interested in how others self-edit? Check out out recent self-editing roundtable.
Writing Tools also offers a nifty companion podcast for your listening pleasure. Each of the 50 tools has a short (two-three minute) podcast that shares more detail on each tip and how to apply it to your writing.
Which are your favorites from Clark’s list? Which of your favorite tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.