How to Write Anything: A Guide and Reference with Readings

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-01-10
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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How to Write Anythingsupports students wherever they are in their writing process. Designed to be clear and simple, the Guide lays out focused advice for writing common academic and real-world genres, while the Reference covers the range of writing skills that students needs as they work across genres and disciplines. Genre-based readings including narratives, reports, arguments, evaluations, proposals and rhetorical, causal, and literary analyses are sure to engage students and inspire ideas. The result is everything you need to teach composition in a flexible, highly visual guide, reference and reader. This new edition gives students more support for academic writing, more help choosing and working with genres, and more emphasis on multimodal composing.

Author Biography

JOHN J. RUSZKIEWICZ is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin where he has taught literature, rhetoric, and writing for more than thirty years. A winner of the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, he was instrumental in creating the Department of Rhetoric and Writing in 1993 and directed the unit from 2001-05. He has also served as president of the Conference of College Teachers of English (CCTE) of Texas. For Bedford/St. Martin's, he is also the co-author, with Andrea A. Lunsford, of The Presence of Others, Fifth Edition, and Everything's an Argument, Fifth Edition.

JAY DOLMAGE is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Waterloo, acting Chair of the NCTE Committee on Disability Issues in College Composition, and a member of the NCTE Public Language Awards Committee. His award-winning research on rhetoric and the teaching of writing has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including College English, CCC, Rhetoric Review, JAC, Prose Studies, and Disability Studies Quarterly. He is also co-editor of the professional resources Disability and the Teaching of Writing (Bedford/St.Martin’s 2008) and The Bedford Bibliographer (2010).

Table of Contents

* Chapter is new to this edition


1  Narratives
Why choose a narrative?
REFLECTION: Mark Edmunson, The Pink Floyd Night School
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
LITERACY NARRATIVE: Richard Rodriguez, Strange Tools     
STUDENT MEMOIR: Miles Pequeno, Check. Mate.
GRAPHIC NOVEL: Marjane Satrapi, from Persepolis
2  Reports 
Why choose a report?
NEWS REPORT: Laura Layton, Uranus’s Second Ring-Moon System
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
INVESTIGATIVE REPORT:  Tyghe Trimble, The Running Shoe Debate
ACADEMIC REPORT: Annie Winsett, Inner and Outer Beauty
FLOW CHART/PROCESS REPORT: Worth and Cooper Guasco, How a Bill Becomes a Law
3  Arguments 
Why choose an argument?
ARGUMENT TO ADVANCE A THESIS: Scott Keyes, Stop Asking Me My Major
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
EXPLORATORY ARGUMENT: Lynn Ehlers, “’Play Freebird!’ ”
REFUTATION ARGUMENT: Cathy Young, Duke’s Sexist Sexual Misconduct Policy
VISUAL ARGUMENT: Visualizing the BP Oil Spill
4  Evaluations
Why choose evaluations and reviews?
PRODUCT REVIEW: David PogueLooking at the iPad from Two Angles
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
ARTS REVIEW: Christopher Isherwood, Stomping onto Broadway with a Punk Temper Tantrum
SOCIAL SATIRE: Jordyn Brown,  A Word from My Anti-Phone Soapbox
VISUAL COMPARISONInsurance Institute for Highway Safety, Crash Test
5  Causal Analyses
Why choose an causal analysis?
CAUSAL ANALYSIS: Jonah Goldberg, Global Warming and the Sun
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
RESEARCH STUDY: Kyu-Heong Kim, Bending the Rules for ESL Writers
EXPLORATORY ESSAY: Liza Mundy, What’s Really Behind the Plunge in Teenage Pregnancy
CULTURAL ANALYSIS: Charles Paul Freund, The Politics of Pants
6  Proposals
Why choose a proposal?
TRIAL BALLOON: Barrett Seaman, How Bingeing Became the New College Sport
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
FORMAL PROPOSAL: Donald Lazere, A Core Curriculum for Civic Literacy
MANIFESTO OR SUGGESTION: Katelyn VincentTechnology Time-out
VISUAL PROPOSAL: Palletttruth.comAsian LongHorned Beetles…
7  Literary Analyses 
Why choose a literary analysis?
LITERARY INTERPRETATION: Kelsi Stayart, Authentic Beauty in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
CLOSE READING: Kanaka Sathasivan, Insanity: Two Women
CULTURAL ANALYSIS: Kelli Marshall, Glee’s Unevenness Explained
Dorothea Lange, Jobless on Edge of Pea Field, Imperial Valley, California
Walker Evans, Burroughs Family Cabin, Hale County, Alabama
Gordon Parks, American Gothic
8  Rhetorical Analyses 
Why choose a rhetorical analysis?
ANALYSIS OF AN ADVERTISEMENT: Seth Stevenson, Can Cougars Sell Cough Drops?
Exploring purpose and topic
Understanding your audience
Finding and developing materials
Creating a structure
Choosing a style and design
Examining models
ANALYSIS OF AN ARGUMENT: Matthew James Nance, A Mockery of Justice
ANALYSIS OF A VISUAL TEXT: J. Reagan Tankersly, Humankind’s Ourobouros
CULTURAL ANALYSIS: Beth Teitell, A Jacket of The People


9  Essay Examinations 
Understanding essay exams
Wade Lamb, Plato’s Phaedrus
Getting the details right
10  Position Papers
Understanding position papers
Heidi Rogers, Triumph of the Lens
Getting the details right
11  Annotated Bibliographies*
Understanding annotated bibliographies
Getting the details right
12  Synthesis Paper*
Understanding synthesis papers
Getting the details right
13  E-mail  
Understanding e-mail
John Ruszkiewicz, Annual Big Bend Trip
Getting the details right
14  Business Letters 
Understanding business letters
Nancy Linn, Cover Letter
John Humbert, To Home Design Magazine
Getting the details right
15  Résumés 
Understanding résumés
Andrea Palladino, Résumé
Getting the details right
16  Personal Statements 
Understanding personal statements
Michael Villaverde, Application Essay for American Service Partnership Foundation Internship
Getting the details right
17  Lab Reports
Understanding lab reports
Sandra Ramos, Synthesis of Luminol
Getting the details right
18  Oral Reports 
Understanding oral reports
Terri Sagastume, Presentation on Edenlawn Estates
Getting the details right


Part 3  IDEAS

19  Brainstorming 
Find routines that support thinking 
Build lists 
Map your ideas 
Try freewriting 
Use memory prompts 
Search online for your ideas 
VISUAL TUTORIAL: How to Browse for Ideas
20  Brainstorming with Others 
Choose a leader 
Begin with a goal and set an agenda 
Set time limits 
Encourage everyone to participate 
Avoid premature criticism 
Test all ideas 
Keep good records 
Agree on an end product
21  Smart Reading
Read to deepen what you already know
Read above your level of knowledge
Read what makes you uncomfortable
Read against the grain
Read slowly
Annotate what you read
Read visually
22  Critical Thinking*
Think in terms of claims and reasons
Think in terms of premises and assumptions
Think in terms of evidence
Anticipate objections
Avoid logical fallacies
23  Experts 
Talk with your instructor 
Take your ideas to the writing center 
Find local experts 
Check with librarians 
Chat with peers
VISUAL TUTORIAL: How to Use the Writing Center
24  Writer’s Block 
Break the project into parts
Set manageable goals
Create a calendar
Limit distractions
Do the parts you like first
Write a zero draft
Reward yourself


25  Genre*
Recognize the variety of genres
Know how to use genres
Appreciate that genres change
26  Thesis
Write a complete sentence
Make a significant claim or assertion
Write a declarative sentence, not a question
Expect your thesis to mature
Introduce a thesis early in a project
Or state a thesis late in a project
Write a thesis to fit your audience and purpose
27  Strategies*
Use description to set a scene
Use division to divide a subject
Use classification to sort objects or ideas by consistent principles
Use definition to clarify meaning
Use comparison and contrast to show similarity and difference
28  Organization
Examine model documents
Sketch out a plan or sequence
Visualize structure when appropriate
Provide clear steps or signals for readers
Deliver on your commitments
29  Outlines
Begin with scratch outlines
List key ideas
Look for relationships
Subordinate ideas
Decide on a sequence
Move up to a formal outline
30  Paragraphs
Make sure paragraphs lead somewhere
Develop ideas adequately
Organize paragraphs logically
Design paragraphs for readability
Use paragraphs to manage transitions
31  Transitions
Use appropriate transitional words and phrases
Use the right word or phrase to show time or sequence
Use sentence structure to connect ideas
Pay attention to nouns and pronouns
Use synonyms
Use physical devices for transitions
Read a draft aloud to locate weak transitions
31  Introductions
Announce your project
Preview your project
Provide background information
Catch the attention of readers
Set a tone
Follow any required formulas
Write an introduction when you’re ready
33  Conclusions
Summarize your points, then connect them
Reveal your point
Finish dramatically
34  Titles
Use titles to focus documents
Create searchable titles
Avoid whimsical or suggestive titles
Capitalize and punctuate titles carefully

Part 5  STYLE
35  High, Middle, Low Style
Use high style for formal, scientific, and scholarly writing
Use middle style for personal, argumentative, and some academic writing
Use a low style for personal, informal, and even playful writing
36  Inclusive and Culturally Sensitive Style
Avoid expressions that stereotype genders
Avoid expressions that stereotype races, ethnic groups, or religious groups
Treat all people with respect
Avoid sensational language
37  Vigorous, Clear, Economical Style
Improve your sentences
Use strong, concrete subjects and objects
Avoid clumsy noun phrases
Avoid sentences with long windups
Avoid strings of prepositional phrases
Avoid doublings
Turn clauses into more direct modifiers
Cut introductory expressions such as it is and there is/are when you can
Vary your sentence lengths and structures
Listen to what you have written
Cut a first draft by 25 percent—or more

38   Revising Your Own Work
Revise to see the big picture
Edit to make the paper flow
Edit to get the details right
VISUAL TUTORIAL: How to Revise your Work
39   Peer Editing
Peer edit the same way you revise your own work
Be specific in identifying problems or opportunities
Offer suggestions for improvement
Praise what is genuinely good in the paper
Use proofreading symbols
Keep comments tactful
VISUAL TUTORIAL: How to Insert a Comment in a Word Document


40   Beginning Your Research
Know your assignment
Come up with a plan
Find a manageable topic
Seek professional help
Distinguish between primary and secondary sources
Record every source you examine
Prepare a topic proposal
41   Finding Print and Online Sources
Learn to navigate the library catalog
Locate research guides
Identify the best reference tools for your needs
Use online sources intelligently
42   Doing Field Research
Interview people with unique knowledge of your subject
Make careful and verifiable observations
Learn more about field work
43   Evaluating Sources
Preview source materials for their key features and strategies
Check who published or produced the source
Check who wrote the work
Consider the audience for a source
Establish how current a source is
Check the source’s documentation
44  Annotating Sources
Annotate a source to understand it
Read sources to identify claims
Read sources to understand assumptions
Read sources to find evidence
Record your personal reactions to source material

45  Summarizing
Use a summary to recap what a writer has said
Be sure your summary is accurate and complete
Use a summary to record your take on a source
Prepare a summary to provide a useful record of a source
Use summaries to prepare an annotated bibliography
46   Paraphrasing Sources
Identify the key claims and structure of the source
Track the source faithfully
Record key pieces of evidence
Be certain your notes are entirely in your own words
Avoid misleading or inaccurate paraphrasing
Use your paraphrases to synthesize sources
47  Integrating Sources into Your Work
Cue the reader whenever you introduce borrowed material, whether it is summarized, paraphrased, or quoted directly
Select an appropriate “verb of attribution” to frame borrowed material
Use ellipsis marks […]to shorten a length quotation
Use brackets [ ] to insert explanatory material into a quotation
Use ellipsis marks, brackets, and other devices to make quoted materials suit the grammar of your sentences
Use [sic] to signal an obvious error in quoted material
48  Documenting Sources
Understand the point of documentation
Understand what you accomplish through documentation
49   MLA Documentation and Format
Document sources according to convention
MLA in-text citation
General Guidelines for MLA Works Cited Entries
MLA works cited entries
VISUAL TUTORIAL:  How to Cite from a Book
VISUAL TUTORIAL:  How to Cite from a magazine
VISUAL TUTORIAL:  How to Cite from a Web Site
VISUAL TUTORIAL:  How to Cite from a Database
Sample MLA pages
50   APA Documentation and Format
APA in-text citation
APA reference entries
VISUAL TUTORIAL: How to Cite from a Database
Sample APA pages

51   Understanding Digital Media*
Choose a media format based on what you hope to accomplish
Use blogs to create communities
Create Web sites to share information
Use Wikis to collaborate with others
Make podcasts to share audio files
Use maps to position ideas
Make “movies” to show and tell
Try remixes and mashups to create something new
52   Digital Elements*
Have good reasons for using new media
Download and save digital elements
Use tools to edit digital media
Use appropriate digital formats
Caption images correctly
Respect copyrights
VISUAL TUTORIAL: How to Insert an Image into a Word Document
53   Charts, Tables and Graphs
Use tables to present statistical data
Use line graphs to display changes or trends
Use bar and column graphs to plot relationships within sets of data
Use pie charts to display proportions
Use maps to display varying types of information
Explore the possibilities of infographics
54    Designing Print and Online Documents
Keep page designs simple and uncluttered
Keep the design logical and consistent
Keep the design balanced
Use templates sensibly
Coordinate your colors
Use headings if needed
Choose appropriate fonts

55  Capitalization
Capitalize the names of ethnic, religious, and political groups
Capitalize modifiers formed from proper nouns
Capitalize all words in titles except prepositions, articles, or conjunctions
Take care with compass points, directions, and specific geographical areas
Understand academic conventions
Capitalize months, days, holidays, and historical periods
56  Apostrophes
Use apostrophes to form the possessive
Use apostrophes in contractions
Don’t use apostrophes with possessive pronouns
57  Commas
Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction to separate two independent clauses
Use a comma after an introductory word group
Use commas with transitional words and phrases
Put Commas around nonrestrictive (that is, nonessential) elements
Use commas to separate items in a series
Do not use commas to separate compound verbs
Do not use a comma between subject and verb
Do not use commas to set off restrictive elements

58  Comma Splices, Run-ons, Fragments
Identify comma splices and run-ons
Fix  comma splices and run-ons
Identify sentence fragments
Fix sentence fragments in your work
Watch for fragments in the following situations
Use deliberate fragments only in appropriate situations
59  Subject/Verb Agreement
Be sure the verb agrees with its real subject
In most cases, treat multiple subjects joined by and as plural
When compound subjects are linked by either…or or neither…nor, make the verb agree with the nearer part of the subject
Confirm whether an indefinite pronoun is singular, plural, or variable
Be consistent with collective nouns
60  Irregular Verbs
61  Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement
Check the number of indefinite pronouns
Correct sexist pronoun usage
Treat collective nouns consistently
62  Pronoun Reference
Clarify confusing pronoun antecedents
Make sure a pronoun has a plausible antecedent
Be certain that the antecedent of this, that, or which isn’t vague
63  Pronoun Case
Use the subjective case for pronouns that are subjects
Use the objective case for pronouns that are objects
Use whom when appropriate
Finish comparisons to determine the right case
Don’t be misled by an appositive
64  Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers
Position modifiers close to the words they modify
Place adverbs such as only, almost, especially, and even carefully
Don’t allow a modifier to dangle
65  Parallelism
When possible, make compound items parallel
Keep items in a series parallel
Keep headings and lists parallel

Part 10  READINGS 
66  Narrative: Readings 
LITERACY NARRATIVE: David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
MEMOIR: Rob SheffieldRumblefish                       
GRAPHIC NOVEL EXCERPT: Lynda Barry, Lost and Found 
MEMOIR: Naomi Shihab Nye, Mint Snowball 
MEMOIR: Ira Sukrungruang, Chop Suey 
*LITERACY NARRATIVE: Jonathan Franzen, The Comfort Zone
67  Report: Readings 
INFORMATIVE REPORT: Sharon Begley, Learning to Love Climate “Adaptation” 
*INFORMATIVE REPORT: David Wolman, The Truth About Autism
*INFORMATIVE REPORT: Kathryn Miles, Dog is Our Co-Pilot
*LEGAL REPORT: Philip DeLoria, Cherokee Nation Decision
*DESCRIPTIVE REPORT: Molly Young, Sweatpants in Paradise

68  Argument: Readings 
*OP-ED: Maureen Dowd, Don't Send in the Clones
PROFILE: Nancy Gibbs, Cool Running 
ARGUMENT FOR CHANGE: Emily Bazelon, Hitting Bottom: Why America Should Outlaw Spanking 
ANALYSIS OF CULTURAL VALUES: Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel, The Young, the Rich, and the Famous: Individualism as an American Cultural Value
*POLICY ARGUMENT: Daniel Engber, Glutton Intolerance
69  Evaluation: Readings 
CULTURAL REVIEW: Carrie Brownstein, So I Thought I Could Dance
*SCIENTIFIC EVALUATION: Michio Kaku, Force Fields
*TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: Sasha Frere Jones, You, the DJ
*TELEVISION REVIEW: Nelle Engoron, Why Mad Men is Bad for Women
*CONCERT REVIEW: Ann Powers, Live Review: Lady Gaga at Staples Center
70  Causal Analysis: Readings 
*TECHNOLOGY ANALYSIS: Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?
CULTURAL ANALYSIS: Natalie Angier, Almost Before We Spoke, We Swore 
CULTURAL ANALYSIS: Alex Williams, Here I Am Taking My Own Picture 
*CAUSAL ANALYSIS: Virginia Postrel, Pop Psychology
*EXPLORATORY ESSAY: Tricia Rose, Hip Hop Causes Violence
71  Proposal: Readings 
*PROPOSAL FOR CHANGE: Bill and Melinda Gates, Educating America’s Young People for the Global Economy
PROPOSAL FOR CHANGE: Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano, Time to Change the Rules
*PROPOSAL FOR CHANGE: Thomas Friedman, Start-Ups, Not Bailouts
*SATIRICAL PROPOSAL: Kembrew McLeod, A Modest Free-Market Proposal for Education Reform
*PROPOSAL FOR CHANGE: Peter Singer, One Person, One Share of the Atmosphere
72  Literary Analysis: Readings 
*FORMAL ANALYSIS: Adam Bradley, Rap Poetry 101
Charles Schulz, Peanuts Cartoon 
Geraldine Deluca, “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”: The Fragile Comedy of Charles Schulz 
Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock” (song lyrics) 
Camille Paglia, “Woodstock” 
*HISTORICAL ANALYSIS: Sara Buttsworth, Twilight, Fairy Tales, and the Twenty-First-Century American Dream
*CULTURAL ANALYSIS: Gish Jen, Holden Raises Hell
73  Rhetorical Analysis: Readings 
DISCOURSE ANALYSIS: Deborah Tannen, Oh, Mom. Oh, Honey.: Why Do You Have to Say That? 
CULTURAL ANALYSIS: Laurie Fendrich, The Beauty of the Platitude 
MEDIA ANALYSIS: John W. Jordan, Sports Commentary and the Problem of Television Knowledge 
*ANALYSIS OF AN ADVERTISEMENT: Carolyn Leader, Dudes Come Clean

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