Subjects Freshman Year Reading African American Studies African Studies American Studies Anthropology Art, Film, Music and Architecture Asian Studies Business and Economics Criminology Education Environmental Studies Foreign Language Instructional Materials Gender Studies History Irish Studies Jewish Studies Latin American & Caribbean Studies Law and Legal Studies Literature and Drama Literature in Spanish Media Issues, Journalism and Communication Middle East Studies Native American Studies Philosophy Political Science Psychology Reference Religion Russian and Eastern European Studies Science and Mathematics Sociology Study Aids


E-Newsletters: Click here to be notified of new titles in your field
Click here to request Desk/Exam copies
Freshman Year Reading
View Our Award Winners
Click here to view our Catalogs
Spunk & Bite

Spunk & Bite

Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!

Order Exam Copy
E-Mail this Page Print this Page
Add This - Spunk & Bite

Written by Arthur PlotnikAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Arthur Plotnik

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 288 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: Random House Reference
  • On Sale: May 8, 2007
  • Price: $13.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-72227-1 (0-375-72227-0)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

When too tightly leashed, writing chokes and loses its vitality. Although the rules of composition popularized in William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White’s Elements of Style have been de rigueur for decades, they won’t exactly set your writing free.

To the rescue comes Spunk & Bite, a guide to bold and radiant language and style. The secret, according to bestselling author and former publishing executive Arthur Plotnik, is to embrace those qualities that composition rulebooks sidestep–among them, surprise, personality, engagement, edge, and fearlessness. Drawing on selections from today’ s most exciting writers–Jonathan Franzen, Sandra Cisneros, Bill Bryson, Maureen Dowd, and many dozens more–Plotnik reveals the tricks and techniques that make prose fresh, forceful, and publishable.

For all types of writing–novels, articles, poems, ad copy, blogs, and even e-mail–this uncommon handbook reveals how to make your words so fetching that readers beg for more.


Arthur Plotnik is an author, and former publishing executive. Two of his works have been featured as Book of the Month Club selections: The Elements of Editing and The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts into Words . Reviewers have consistently praised Plotnik’s writing for its accuracy, style, and wit, often ranking it with Strunk & White in practicality.

Plotnik studied under Philip Roth and Vance Bourjaily at the Iowa Writers Workshop . As a publisher, he brought five national awards to the American Library Association’s book imprint. He also won numerous honors as editor of ALA’s flagship magazine, American Libraries.

"Here Plotnik has accomplished the nearly impossible: to write a guide to lively, sparkling writing that serves in itself---sentence by sentence--as an example of all the advice being offered. A must for every writer's desk." --Billy Collins

"This fellow Arthur Plotnik not only knows how to write about spunk and bite. He writes with spunk and bite. So will you, if you take in the wisdom of his colorful, learned, and caring advice." --Richard Lederer, co-author of The Write Way and Comma Sense

"Writing by the rules is fine---so long as you are willing to bend them once in a while. In this highly entertaining and practical volume, Arthur Plotnik shows writers dozens of ways to transform their prose from leaden to lively without going overboard. Spunk & Bite belongs next to Strunk & White on every writer's desk."--Andrea J. Sutcliffe, editor, The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage

"Plotnik, author of the well-respected Elements of Editing (1982), takes on the venerable duo of Strunk and White in this peppery guide to vibrant writing. . . . [H]e devotes 31 chapters to detailed analyses of the factors that make language sing. He is especially adept at providing exactly the right felicitous quotation to make his point and draws from a wide variety of writers. . . .

In addition, Plotnik addresses such practical topics as the question of audience, providing a pocket guide to the different generations and their wildly varying approaches to the written word. Moving seamlessly between instruction and quotation, Plotnik’s work makes for addictive reading for both aspiring and veteran writers." —Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist magazine

"[T]his is an entertaining and engaging choice for writers. Recommended for all libraries." -- Ann Schade, Library Journal