Until a few years ago, the idea of having a favorite non-fiction author was funny to me. Like, non-fiction was cool and all, but I never really appreciated it as a true form a creativity until I was introduced to Roy Peter Clark.
Mr. Clark has written several books on writing. I own most of them. Because they’re amazing.
In order of publication, they are:
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
The Glamour of Grammar: The Magic and Mystery of Practical English
Help! for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces
How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times
Each book is broken down into short, manageable sections. His writing is easy to understand, engaging, and very informative. The first book of his I read I loved so much I read 2/3 of it in a couple of hours and my head was spinning because of all the information I was trying to pack into my brain.
There’s something new to learn on every page. It’s all such good, informative writing that any writer, in any stage of their writing journey can pick up and gleam some great tips and tricks. That’s part of why his writing is so magical- it can be given to any writer and it applies. The first time novelist can pick it up and learn so much. But then, the person who has been writing for years can also gain so much from it.
And, the other reason his books are so magical is because of the way they’re written. The words he uses. The phrases. It’s like poetry. Like what Shakespeare might sound like if he wrote prose about how to write. I’m not kidding. Each page is filled with sentences that just send chills down my spine and remind me why I love words so much.
My favorite book is his The Glamour of Grammar: The Magic and Mystery of Practical English. I’m not a huge grammar fan. It’s necessary to have and so everyone should learn it, but for me, it’s always been a way to a means. You need to learn to use words properly so that you can use them. But, in the end, the goal is to use them.
This book, however, made me fall in love with the mechanics. It made me love every aspect of writing. Grammar isn’t just a way to a means, it’s a whole art form in itself. It’s like what science is to engineering. It’s important and it’s magical and thrilling and while there are rules and facts and things set in stone, it’s also fluid, open to interpretation, a mystery.
Roy Peter Clark will make you fall in love with writing. With words. With the English language. And, if you already are in love with those, he will rekindle the fire, make you fall in love all over again. His books are the only I have ever read that made me so proud to be a writer. They filled with me passion and life and I just swelled with excitement and inspiration when I read them.
If you’ve never read them I would highly recommend you check them out. Because they are amazing. And, they really aren’t that expensive.
So, you have no excuse. If you are a writer or simply a lover of words, you need to read these. Because they will change your life.