Writing Tools: Roy Peter Clark provides tools for improving your writing.

Ebert at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Why Roger Ebert was a good writer

Before I tackle what made Roger Ebert a good writer, I’d like to tell  a story about why he was a good colleague and good person. It was 1978 and I was spending the year as a substitute film writer … Read more


Thursday, Apr. 04, 2013

Immigration activists demonstrated in Miami in January.  (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

AP dumps ‘illegal immigrant’ but not neutrality

All big political wars are fought more often with words than with weapons.

Your “terrorist,” so the saying goes, is my “freedom fighter.”

Your “illegal alien” may be my “undocumented worker.”

Immigration activists demonstrated in Miami in January. (AP Photo/Alan
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Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013

Copy - Paste

Why we should stop criminalizing practices that are confused with plagiarism

Editor’s note: This essay represents the personal and professional opinions of Roy Peter Clark and should not be used to characterize the opinions of Poynter or the standards and practices of Poynter.org.

It is time to decriminalize certain practices now … Read more


Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013


How to influence reader response to your work

All writers learn that it is not possible or desirable to control how a reader responds to story, or even a sentence.  But you can influence reader response, and you should.

How your reader responds is a crucial consequence of … Read more


Monday, Mar. 04, 2013

Tips for improving your writing on National Grammar Day

Today is National Grammar Day, a special holiday for someone — namely me — who has written a book titled “The Glamour of Grammar.”

That title still puzzles some people who think of grammar as a creaky old … Read more


Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

How to solve your most difficult writing problems

Every writer faces problems. In the most recent  I’ll help you figure out solutions.

Much of the advice I’ll give will derive from my book, “Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces,” which just … Read more

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Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013

How and when to break the rules of writing

The recent passing of former New York mayor Ed Koch reminded me of one of my favorite feature leads of all time, written in 1980 by one of the AP’s all-time greats, Saul Pett:

“NEW YORK — He is the

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Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013

How to get feedback on your writing

In a recent essay, I described how Tom French and I wrote our books using what I called “the buddy system.” In response, one writer tweeted: “Wish I had a buddy.”

So where do you find a buddy? And … Read more

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Monday, Jan. 28, 2013


How to write using the buddy system

I first learned the phrase “buddy system” in Boy Scouts as a safe way of learning to swim. If a buddy was nearby, he could help save you from drowning.

Drowning is not a bad metaphor for parts … Read more

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Monday, Jan. 21, 2013


Flashback: Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter to southern editor Gene Patterson

Originally published January 19, 2003, this essay by Roy Peter Clark describes the relationship between Eugene Patterson, who died Jan. 12 at the age of 89, and Martin Luther King Jr., whose life and legacy is celebrated today.Read more