Roy Peter Clark

About Roy Peter Clark

“Before the aurora borealis appears, the sensitive needles of compasses all over the world are restless for hours, agitating on their pins in airplanes and ships, trembling in desk drawers, in attics, in boxes on shelves.”

By One Great Sentence November 15, 2017

Why is it great? I admire the way Dillard turns a piece of natural science into a narrative of anticipation during which no human being makes an entrance.  The aurora borealis, better known as the northern lights, is a spectacular … Read more

“If the history of the earth’s tides should one day be written by some observer of the universe, it would no doubt be said that they reached their greatest grandeur and power in the younger days of Earth, and that they slowly grew feebler and less imposing until one day they ceased to be.”

By One Great Sentence September 13, 2017

Why is it great? Few authors have written as magnificently about nature as Rachel Carson, and this sentence is a good example.  Its strength is not in form but content.  It revealed to me something I did not know — … Read more

The Persuasive Narrator

By Story Craft May 23, 2006

We call lots of things “stories” in American journalism, but very few of them are true narrative storytelling. Most journalistic accounts are reports, whose primary purpose is to pass along information to readers. Reports require certain writing strategies to help readers … Read more

The Line Between Fact and Fiction

By Story Craft September 7, 2004

Journalists should report the truth. Who would deny it? But such a statement does not get us far enough, for it fails to distinguish nonfiction from other forms of expression. Novelists can reveal great truths about the human condition, and … Read more