Cover image for Murder your darlings : and other gentle writing advice from Aristotle to Zinsser
Title:
Murder your darlings : and other gentle writing advice from Aristotle to Zinsser
ISBN:
9780316481885
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
ix, 340 pages ; 22 cm.
Contents:
A writing book about writing books -- Language and craft. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch : Murder your darlings ; William Zinsser : Find and cut the clutter ; Donald Hall : Learn to live inside words ; George Campbell : Shape a sentence for the desired effect ; John McPhee : Work from a plan -- Voice and style. William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White : Recognize two contradictory meanings of style ; Gary Provost and Ursula K. Le Guin : Vary sentence length to create a pleasing rhythm ; Vera John-Steiner : Use visual markings to spark your creative process ; Constance Hale and Jessie Scanlon : Tune your voice for the digital age ; Ben Yagoda : Turn the dials that adjust the way you sound as a writer -- Confidence and identity. Donald Murray : Learn the steps of the writing process ; Anne Lamott : Keep writing - things will get better ; Peter Elbow : Write freely to discover what you want to say ; Dorothea Brande and Brenda Ueland : Say it loud : "I am a writer" ; Stephen King : Develop the writing habit -- Storytelling and character. Brian Boyd : Understand the value of storytelling ; James Wood : Prefer the complex human narrator ; Northrop Frye : Write for sequence, then for theme ; Lajos Egri : Distill your story into five words - maybe three ; E. M. Forster : Add dimension to characters ; Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe : Report for story -- Rhetoric and audience. Louise M. Rosenblatt : Anticipate the needs of readers ; Quintilian : Embrace rhetoric as the source of language power ; Aristotle : Influence the emotional responses of your audience ; Vivian Gornick and Mary Karr : Sign a social contract with the reader ; Rudolf Flesch and Robert Gunning : Write to the level of your reader - and a little higher -- Mission and purpose. S. I Hayakawa : Learn the strategies that make reports reliable ; Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer : Write to make your soul grow ; Horace : Write to delight and instruct ; Edward R. Murrow : Become the eyes and ears of the audience ; Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and Neil Postman : Choose advocacy over propaganda ; Natalie Goldberg and Charles Johnson : Be a writer - and so much more --
Summary:
A collection of over a hundred writing tips gleaned from fifty popular writing books. Chapters are devoted to each key strategy. Author expands and contextualizes original authors' suggestions and shares how each tip helped other authors improve their skills.
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Summary

Summary

From one of America's most influential teachers, a collection of the best writing advice distilled from fifty language books -- from Aristotle to Strunk and White.
With so many excellent writing guides lining bookstore shelves, it can be hard to know where to look for the best advice. Should you go with Natalie Goldberg or Anne Lamott? Maybe William Zinsser or Stephen King would be more appropriate. Then again, what about the classics -- Strunk and White, or even Aristotle himself?
Thankfully, your search is over. In Murder Your Darlings , Roy Peter Clark, who has been a beloved and revered writing teacher to children and Pulitzer Prize winners alike for more than thirty years, has compiled a remarkable collection of more than 100 of the best writing tips from fifty of the best writing books of all time.
With a chapter devoted to each key strategy, Clark expands and contextualizes the original author's suggestions and offers anecdotes about how each one helped him or other writers sharpen their skills. An invaluable resource for writers of all kinds, Murder Your Darlings is an inspiring and edifying ode to the craft of writing.


Author Notes

Roy Peter Clark was born in 1948 in New York City and raised on Long Island. He graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island with a degree in English and earned a PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was hired by St. Petersburg Times in 1977 to become a writing coach. He worked with the American Society of Newspaper Editors to improve newspaper writing nationwide. He was soon elected a distinguished service member which was a rare honor for a journalist who has never edited a newspaper. He has nurtured Pulitzer Prize winning writers such as Thomas French and Diana Sugg. He has worked full-time at The Poynter Institute starting in 1979 as director of the writing center, dean of the faculty, senior scholar and vice president. He has authored or edited several books on journalism and writing such as: Free to Write: A Journalist Teaches Young Writers; Coaching Writers: Editors and Reporters Working Together Across Media Platforms and Glamour of Grammar.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Kirkus Review

A jam-packed book of advice for would-be writers.Poynter Institute senior scholar Clark (The Art of X-Ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing, 2017, etc.) has become something of a guru when it comes to how-to writing books. Written in his usual easygoing, conversational, and encouraging style, his latest is a compilation of writing advice from more than 50 of his favorite books about writing. Covering a wide range of topics, including language and craft, voice and style, storytelling and character, and rhetoric and audience, the author focuses on one or two writing lessons from each book. In each chapter, Clark also provides a pedagogical "Tool Box" of ideas and suggestions and "Lessons" for students to try out: "Read a lot and write a lot"; "Write Up to your readers, not Down." The book's title comes from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's On the Art of Writing (1916), in which the author suggested, "Draft, purge, murder. Before you murder that darling, you must create it." Clark argues that William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's The Elements of Style is the "great-granddaddy" of all books on writing. For "millions of reluctant writers," it told them that the "writing craft is not an act of magic, but the applied use of both rules and tools." Besides the old standards, there are some nice surprisese.g., George Campbell's The Philosophy of Rhetoric, a "must read" that "was published in a significant year: 1776." Stephen King's "odd bit of advice" in On Writingto read "bad writing so you can learn what not to write"is practical and wise. Clark deftly mixes writing advice with personal memoir and toots his own horn in an appendix that includes summaries of his own books, including Writing Tools"more than 200,000 copies have been sold in several formats."A generous, witty, and exuberant teacher inspires writers to "know more and feel more." Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Table of Contents

Sir Arthur Quiller-CouchWilliam ZinsserDonald HailGeorge CampbellJohn McPheeWilliam Strunk Jr. and E. B. WhiteGary Provost and Ursula K. Le GuinVera John-SteinerConstance Hale and Jessie ScanlonBen YagodaDonald MurrayAnne LamottPeter ElbowDorothea Brande and Brenda UelandStephen KingBrian BoydJames WoodNorthrop FryeLajos EgriE. M. ForsterGay Talese and Tom WolfeLouise M. RosenblattQuintilianAristotleVivian Gornick and Mary KarrRudolf Flesch and Robert GunningS. I HayakawaKurt Vonnegut and Lee StringerHoraceEdward R. MurrowAldous Huxley and George Orwell and Neil PostmanNatalie Goldberg and Charles Johnson
Introduction: A Writing Book about Writing Booksp. 3
Part I Language And Craftp. 11
1 Murder your darlingsp. 13
2 Find and cut the clutterp. 20
3 Learn to live inside wordsp. 27
4 Shape a sentence for the desired effectp. 34
5 Work from a planp. 41
Part II Voice And Stylep. 47
6 Recognize two contradictory meanings of stylep. 49
7 Vary sentence length to create a pleasing rhythmp. 58
8 Use visual markings to spark your creative processp. 68
9 Tune your voice for the digital agep. 78
10 Turn the dials that adjust the way you sound as a writerp. 86
Part III Confidence And Identityp. 97
11 Learn the steps of the writing processp. 99
12 Keep writing; things will get betterp. 108
13 Write freely to discover what you want to sayp. 116
14 Say it loud: "I am a writer."p. 125
15 Develop the writing habitp. 139
Part IV Storytelling and Characterp. 147
16 Understand the value of storytellingp. 149
17 Prefer the complex human narratorp. 160
18 Write for sequence, then for themep. 170
19 Distill your story into five words-maybe threep. 178
20 Add dimension to charactersp. 185
21 Report for storyp. 193
Part V Rhetoric and Audiencep. 203
22 Anticipate the needs of readersp. 205
23 Embrace rhetoric as the source of language powerp. 213
24 Influence the emotional responses of your audiencep. 220
25 Sign a social contract with the readerp. 229
26 Write to the level of your reader-and a little higherp. 239
Part VI Mission and Purposep. 253
27 Learn the strategies that make reports reliablep. 255
28 Write to make your soul growp. 265
29 Write to delight and instructp. 273
30 Become the eyes and ears of the audiencep. 282
31 Choose advocacy over propagandap. 291
32 Be a writer- and so much morep. 299
Afterwordp. 311
Acknowledgmentsp. 313
Appendix: Books by Roy Peter Clarkp. 316
Bibliographyp. 319
Indexp. 329