What a fine book! Unfortunately, we think, 'Writing' is a form of fine art that is reserved for a few with the special talent. In 'Writing Tools', Mr. Clark demystifies this. I wish I’d have read it earlier in my life.
The book has a commonsensical approach towards writing. It has a set of tools, not rules, which are applicable to all writing styles. These tools are written in a conversational tone in short chapters, and each chapter is complete in itself. There are practical examples and easy to remember adages. One of my favorites: use adverbs not to emphasize the meaning that is already contained in the verb but to modify it. E.g. "she smiled happily" is weak, just "she smiled" is better, but "she smiled sadly” is powerful.
The book discusses things like how to be original, e.g. “choose words the average writer avoids but the average reader understands". It talks about developing the right mindset for writing, e.g. develop a mission statement for your work, write slowly, show not tell, write with the end goal, how to get started with writing, and more.
There are many such strategies and examples to make your writing powerful. And the beauty of writing is that - we understand things better when we can write about them.
With a foundation in journalism, Roy Clark's views on writing are 'applied', rather than 'academic'. Example: Roy advises writers to have Aerial /Establishing/Middle distance/Close Up/Extereme Close Up Shots while writing. The book is divided into 50 essays and has a conversational feel. I almost heard him speak in my ears - as if he was on podcast. Even when he is talking about a soporific topic like Grammar - he doesn't loose his light touch. Sample this - "...I prefer the comma to the dash but sometimes use one -- if only to pluck Don Fry's beard...". 4 thumbs up (because I am including my toes also !)