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Monday, June 25, 2007

Fifty Tools Which Can Help You in Writing

Fifty Tools Which Can Help You in Writing is a set of articles on how to improve your writing published on the website. I discovered them recently with a little help from my StumbleUpon toolbar.

The articles are written by Roy Peter Clark from the Poynter Institute. They are aimed primarily at journalists, but any writer could benefit from studying them, and many are relevant to fiction writers as well. To give you some idea of the quality, here's an extract from Writing Tool #6: Play With Words:

Play with words, even in serious stories. Choose words the average writer avoids but the average reader understands.

Just as the sculptor works with clay, the writer shapes a world with words. In fact, the earliest English poets were called "shapers," artists who molded the stuff of language to create stories the way that God, the Great Shaper, formed heaven and earth.

Good writers play with language, even when the topic is about death:

"Do not go gentle into that good night," wrote Welsh poet Dylan Thomas to his dying father, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Play and death may seem at odds, but the writer finds the path that connects them. To express his grief, the poet fiddles with language, prefers 'gentle' to 'gently,' chooses 'night' to rhyme with 'light,' and repeats the word 'rage.' Later in the poem, he will even pun about those "grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight." The double meaning of 'grave men' leads straight to the oxymoron 'blinding sight.' Word-play.

One thing I particularly like about Fifty Tools Which Can Help You in Writing is the way that every 'tool' is illustrated with good examples of its use. I'll be surprised if you don't find something here that can help improve your own writing.

Incidentally, as mentioned above, I discovered this site with the help of the StumbleUpon toolbar, which I started using quite recently. This is a free toolbar you can download for the Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers. Once you have the toolbar installed, you can vote up sites you like and vote down sites you don't. You can also click on the Stumble icon and will be taken to a random website others have voted for, and which - based on how you have voted in the past - you are likely to enjoy.

I recommend StumbleUpon as a great way of discovering new and interesting websites. If you install the toolbar, don't forget to vote for this blog and my forum, to help spread the word among other writers!

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Blogger Keir said...

Came across your site by googling writers blogs. Glad I did. I've visited and found the information excellent. I'm involved with a number of writnig circles and professionally presented information is essential to get the points across.
I've book marked your site.
Keir Cheetham

3:16 PM  

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