Roy Peter Clark

Roy has taught writing at every level--to school children and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors--for more than 30 years, and has spoken about the writer's craft on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR and Today; at conferences from Singapore to Brazil; and at news organizations from The New York Times to the Sowetan in South Africa. He is the author of "Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer," the book and the blog.


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Are you a happy writer or a sad writer?

Yesterday was a happy day for me as a writer after I received an enthusiastic review of my new book “How to Write Short.”

But what if it had been a negative review, or a hostile review, or an insulting … Read more

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Elmore Leonard

Remembering Elmore Leonard & his writing advice

Assuming that Elmore Leonard would be unimpressed with the imperatives of Search Engine Optimization, I will retitle this essay: “My Dinner with Elmore.”

I’ve read just enough Elmore Leonard to know that he was a brilliant writer with a distinctive … Read more

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Justin Bieber

Story about Justin Bieber concert shows how writers can zig when everyone else zags

I learned a new term from a high school teacher, who introduced me to “mentor texts.”  A mentor text is a story that teaches the reader something important about storytelling.

The stories that we have selected so far … Read more

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Tips for writing short and well

With official publication date three weeks away, I am happy to hold in my hand the first copy of my latest book: “How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.”

I have never had more fun writing a book, … Read more

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anna_tends_grave3

Story about a Marine’s suicide shows power of letting sources narrate

National Public Radio brags about its ability to produce “driveway moments.” The idea is that you’re driving home from work listening to a riveting story on NPR and pull into your driveway, but the story isn’t over yet … Read more

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weiner-beat-it-small

Page One as pillory: The clever craft of insult journalism

Until now, my favorite tabloid headline came from the New York Post: “Headless Body in Topless Bar.”

The July 26, 2013, cover of the New York Daily News

That paradigm of textual parallelism has been supplanted by this … Read more

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Magnifying glass showing excellence word in white on grey background

Atlanta Journal Constitution writer shows what it takes to craft an excellent profile

It is an honor to kick off the Poynter Excellence Project with Rosalind Bentley’s elegant and insightful profile of America’s poet laureate Natasha Trethewey. Bentley’s profile appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution as part of Personal Journeys — an innovative … Read more

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Today we launch the Poynter Excellence Project

It has been a hallmark of Poynter over its history to call attention to excellent journalism. No action is more consistent with our mission and purpose. No teaching has proved more effective. To take that teaching to a new level … Read more

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girl writing at table by pen and ink indoor in summer day with s

How to practice ‘escapist writing’ this summer

It’s a standard of American culture that we use the summer for both enrichment and escape. On the sour end are high school students who receive a recommended summer reading list. On the sweet side are those opportunities to head … Read more

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How to write the ‘perfect’ sentence

The best way to write a perfect sentence is to lower your standards.

I hope that advice doesn’t come across as some bait and switch, that there is no such thing as a perfect sentence. I do believe in the … Read more

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