The Writing Arc
The Writing Arc

The Writing Arc

Lead Author(s): Steve Sansom, Brian H. Kyser, Bruce Martin, Robert Miller

Student Price: Contact us to learn more

The Writing Arc is a foundational guide for first-year composition students centered on the functional, core principles of the writing process. From the earliest stages of discovery, invention, structuring, and drafting and on through writing, revising, editing, documenting and formatting, and presenting, The Writing Arc provides students an in-depth exploration of the various parts of the writing process and how they fit together in the context of various modes of writing. Each chapter is punctuated by writing samples from student and professional writers in addition to the wide-ranging examples of writing included in an Additional Readings section.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Why Write?

  • Purpose        
  • Audience        
  • Voice        
  • Structure        
  • Final Word        
  • Why I Write 
    • George Orwell

Chapter 2 Discovering

  • Mental Habits       
  • Active Reading        
  • Finding Information        
  • Evaluating Information        
  • Managing Information        
  • Plagiarism        
  • Final Word        
  • Type, Therefore I Am
    • Tom Chatfield

Chapter 3 Inventing

  • Find a Unifying Idea        
  • Remove the Inner Editor        
  • Interrogate Your Topic        
  • Balancing Your Ideas        
  • A Reflection on This Chapter        
  • Final Word        
  • This Is the Life
    • Annie Dillard

Chapter 4 Structuring

  • Elements of Structure        
  • Structuring Strategies        
  • Final Word        
  • Our Vanishing Night
    • Verlyn Klinkenborg

Chapter 5 Drafting

  • Body Paragraphs        
  • Paragraph Unity        
  • Paragraph Coherence        
  • Paragraph Development        
  • From Paragraph to Essay        
  • Introductions        
  • Conclusions        
  • Titles        
  • Final Word        
  • Shitty First Drafts
    • Anne Lamott

Chapter 6 Writing Exposition

  • Description        
  • Narration        
  • Process        
  • Illustration/Example        
  • Definition        
  • Comparison/Contrast        
  • Pappadeaux and Joe’s Crab Shack
    • Jona Roy        
  • Classification/Division          
  • Cause/Effect        
  • Getting Sober
    • Krystal Holifield

Chapter 7 Revising

  • Resistance to Revision        
  • Revision Strategies        
  • The Purpose of Revision        
  • Revision and Collaborative Writing        
  • Further Revision Strategies        
  • Final Word        
  • Simplicity
    • William Zinsser

Chapter 8 Editing

  • Editing for Grammatical Errors        
  • Avoiding Wordiness        
  • Editing For Style        
  • Editing Checklist        
  • Sample Essay        
  • Final Word        
  • Why Humans, Like Ants, Need a Tribe
    • E. O. Wilson

Chapter 9 Documenting and Formatting

  • Using Source Material        
  • Citing Source Material        
  • Publication Conventions        
  • In-Text Citations        
  • Works Cited, References, Bibliography        
  • Formats        
  • Title Pages        
  • Final Word        
  • Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?
    • Stephen Marche

Chapter 10 Analyzing Arguments

  • Analyzing Written Arguments        
  • Distinguishing between Fact, Opinion, and Judgment        
  • Determining Bias        
  • Determining Audience, Purpose, Situation, and Tone        
  • Analyzing the Rational Appeal        
  • Analyzing the Emotional Appeal        
  • Analyzing the Ethical Appeal        
  • Writing the Analysis        
  • Analyzing Visual Arguments        
  • Letter From Birmingham Jail
    • Martin Luther King, Jr.        
  • Letter to a Southern Baptist Pastor
    • E. O. Wilson

Chapter 11 Writing Arguments

  • Determining Your Audience        
  • Establishing Credibility        
  • Defining Terms        
  • Using Reason to Persuade        
  • Avoiding Fallacies        
  • Inventing Arguments        
  • Organizing an Argument        
  • The Declaration of Independence
    • Thomas Jefferson and Others

Chapter 12 Presenting

  • Structuring for Presentation        
  • Developing Visual Aids        
  • Rehearsing        
  • Formatting and Presenting        
  • Final Word        
  • Liking Is for Cowards: Go for What Hurts
    • Jonathan Franzen

Additional Readings

  • How to Tame a Wild Tongue
    • Gloria E. Anzaldúa        
  • A Report from Occupied Territory
    • James Baldwin   
  • Baseball or Soccer?
    • David Brooks        
  • The Cop Mind
    • David Brooks        
  • The Real Africa
    • David Brooks        
  • How it Feels to Be Colored Me
    • Zora Neale Hurston        
  • Living the Dream
    • Michael Jernigan        
  • My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead
    • Chuck Klosterman        
  • What ISIS Could Teach the West
    • Nicholas Kristof        
  • When Whites Just Don’t Get it: Part 5
    • Nicholas Kristof        
  • Five Myths About Brown v. Board of Education
    • Imani Perry        
  • First, Let’s Fire All the Teachers!
    • Diane Ravitch        
  • Mexicans in America
    • Richard Rodriguez        
  • Poison Apples
    • Rebecca Solnit

Student Examples

  • Going Home
    • Kathleen Looper
  • A Seasonal Twist
    • Tammy Boggs
  • Planting a Vegetable Garden
  • Horror Novels as Therapy
    • Allison Hinson
  • Wisdom
    • Jennifer Murray
  • Weight Lifters
    • Roberto Loucel
  • Violent Video Games=Violent Video Gamers?
    • Gelina Breaux

Appendices

Appendix 1
A Short Review of Grammar and Punctuation
Appendix 2 Common Informal Fallacies
Appendix 3 Commonly Confused Words and Phrases
Appendix 4 Common Roots and Affixes from Greek and Latin

Works Cited

Copyright Acknowledgments