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Publisher's Summary

From one of America's most influential teachers, a collection of the best writing advice distilled from 50 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 30 years, has compiled a remarkable collection of more than 100 of the best writing tips from 50 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.

©2020 Roy Peter Clark (P)2020 Little, Brown Spark

Critic Reviews

"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)

"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, writing coach, and enterprise editor at The Baltimore Sun)

What listeners say about Murder Your Darlings

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Surprisingly engaging

How interesting can a book about writing techniques be? Not interesting at all to non-writers, I suspect. How about a book about books about writing? Ultimate nerd material, I would imagine. And kow about listening to a book about books about writing in audio format? Insanity, maybe?
For the those not interested in writing this is tbe case here. There is probably nothing here for them.
However, for those of us interested in the craft, this is a small treasure. Roy Peter Clark’s devotion to the art of writing well, and his reverence for those who shared their secrets about how to it is evident in every chapter here. It’s inspiring and well worth a listen.

7 people found this helpful

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Loved This SO Much.!

_Murder Your Darlings_ is one of the newest additions to the Writing Life. Filled with fantastic information and quotes from dozens of writers throughout history, I've never read anything so comprehensive... and I have read a LOT of writing books; it is my favorite tactic towards procrastination of my own writing.

This addressed the other writers' foibles and even evils, but embraced the great information they imparted. As many have said, great art has been created from the most abhorrent people who ever lived.

That Clark was able to recount so many incredible writers and their most profound thoughts and advice is a tribute to his book collection and power of retention. He said he still had 100 books to go through and I really hope he will do a _Murder Your Darlings 2_.

If you are an aspiring writer or a writer of bestsellers, I believe all of us can find great information in this book.

5 people found this helpful

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pretentious and political

I felt like I was listening to the writing coach for MSNBC. The biases are so blatant, the subtext so smarmy, I couldn’t wait to finish it to see if I could salvage any value from it.

4 people found this helpful

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Much More Than I Expected

A longtime student of writing books who writes writing books delivers the best of writing advice from the past 3,000 years. Exceptionally well researched with a lively delivery, a perfect blend of erudition, humor, and useful information.

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skippable

I was aware of Charles Johnson and had read his book on writing as well as Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott before Roy Peter Clark decided to write a book about writing books. it's almost a book about writing but not quite. you can read this to help you as a writer but it's not really worth your time.

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Excellent Review ofWriting Books

Provides an excellent review of writing books. Next step is to pick from his list in areas where you need help and read them.
The author has a rye sense of humor that makes an interesting read.

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Fascinating and useful

A culling of wisdoms about composition from about 200 years of working writers thinking about and writing on the subject.

N.B. I've been stumped on a book review for several weeks, but after two hours listening to this book, sentences for a "zero draft" started free-associating out of my unconscious.

Very well performed!

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Good sourcebook for writing technique

Excellent book on writing. My only complaint is that, at times I wish I had the print version instead of the audio book.

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fantastic work

fantastic work for which it is easy to follow up because he gives so many references where you can find fantastic instructions and writing. his overview of these works does not show all of the unique insights that he provides which are fantastic. I am so glad I picked this one up. (this was all voice to text and Amazon does not seem to capitalize in this app.)

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  • Maddy
  • 07-25-20

Not just a good book on writing, also, just a good book.

Dope book. At first i was a bit twisted up over the narration - sounded like a pompus twat - but the narrators snarky humour won me over so much that i may have been too busy enjoying myself, to actually learn.

Absolute highlight for me:

-unadulterated bro love for william zinsser - including - referring to him, in his hilarious voice, as the “Z-man”

Im an absolute abuser of audibles exchange policy, and for me, this is a keeper.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • 06-04-20

How To Write's Greatest Hits

Roy Peter Clark has managed to distill a lifetime of research writing into a succinct best of. Each chapter is dedicate to a different writer's guide with Clark pulling out the most important lessons. With advice ranging from the obvious to the complex, there is something to be learnt here for every writer.

Clark has not just written a "how to write" guide, he's provide a treasure trove of book recommendations for the reader to explore next.

Jefferson Mays does an excellent job as well, resisting the urge to "do the voices" of the numerous writers quoted throughout the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lara
  • 10-12-21

Absolutely wonderful

I loved this book. I’ve just finished it and I’m too full of emotion at the moment to break that down, but it has left me inspired, enthused and dying to learn more. Read it even if you’re not a writer. It will expand the way you think 😊