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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.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"What emerges is an all-encompassing guide to a life spent with words...Reading Clark is like sitting in on a conversational master class. Writer-readers will clamor for more."
Courtney Eathorne, Booklist
"A party-popper of inspiration."
Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
"With his latest work, Murder Your Darlings, Roy Peter Clark once again proves he is America's writing coach. Having compiled, dissected, and analyzed the best writing tips from the best books on writing, Clark has done all lovers of the written word a tremendous favor. Murder Your Darlings is sure to become the go-to source, not only for writing tips but also for Clark's unique insight and practical instruction. A terrific addition to any bookshelf."
Lori Roy, two-time Edgar award-winning author of Gone Too Long
"This book is magic. Open any page of Murder Your Darlings and dive in. You'll quickly find yourself pulled into Roy Peter Clark's folksy and gentle voice, and his distillation of the wisdom of more than 50 writing books. Through this appreciation, he opens the door to writing books ancient and modern, and to scores of inspiring strategies and tools. He zeroes in on the craft, but also the soul of writing -- our voice and identity as writers, as well as our mission and purpose. Along the way, 'America's Writing Coach' encourages us with his greatest lesson -- that we can all get better, every day. I am in love with Murder Your Darlings. This is the book I want to give to every writer."
Diana K. Sugg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and Writing Coach and Enterprise Editor at The Bal
"I met Roy Peter Clark over forty years ago, when the Pulitzer-winning editor of the St. Petersburg Times, Eugene C. Patterson, himself an elegant stylist, hired Roy as one of the first "writing coaches" in a large American newsroom. Roy not only improved the literary quality of an already fluent newspaper, he helped invent the profession of journalistic coaching. Murder Your Darlings sums up the best wisdom of a discipline in which Roy was a pioneer and remains a star."
Howell Raines, author of Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis
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