Academic Writing Now: A Brief Guide for Busy Students – Second Edition
  • Publication Date: November 5, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781554815098 / 1554815096
  • 248 pages; 6" x 9"

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Academic Writing Now: A Brief Guide for Busy Students – Second Edition

  • Publication Date: November 5, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781554815098 / 1554815096
  • 248 pages; 6" x 9"

Academic Writing Now: A Brief Guide for Busy Students is a rhetoric designed to cover the basics of a college writing course in a concise, student-friendly format. Anything inessential to the business of college writing has been excluded. Each chapter concentrates on a crucial element of composing an academic essay and is capable of being read in a single sitting. The book is loaded with “timesaver tips,” ideas for making the most of the student’s time, along with occasional warnings to avoid common errors made by student writers. Each short chapter concludes with questions and suggestions designed to reinforce the chapter’s key elements and facilitate small-group interactions and trigger class discussion.

The second edition has been updated throughout, with special attention to making the book even better suited to accelerated and co-requisite composition courses. MLA citation style has been updated to reflect 2021 changes, and a current APA citation guide is new to the second edition.


Academic Writing Now: A Brief Guide for Busy Students is concise in its layout and instructions and comprehensive in its coverage of the necessary elements of college writing. By distilling the fundamentals of college writing into an accessible format, David Starkey expertly guides the student writer through realistic yet critical practice. This makes Academic Writing Now the most reliable resource for my students in both first- and second-semester composition.” — Clara Oropeza, Santa Barbara City College

“Starkey delivers clear, ordered advice in a voice so familiar and colloquial that anyone’s anxiety about this often rigid academic subject will start to calm. He moves seamlessly between examples ranging from everyday experience to the highest levels of great writing, and what I like best is that underneath it all he encourages students to keep creativity and poetic insight alive while they tackle the challenge of writing rigorous, scholarly papers.” — Richard Guzman, North Central College

“Starkey’s Academic Writing Now: A Brief Guide for Busy Students is a great resource for first-year writing students and faculty who want to move swiftly through essential concepts in order to get down to the brass tacks of the academic essay. Starkey not only invites student readers through conversation, efficiency, and practical wisdom but also targets key areas that writing instructors repeatedly discuss so that students can internalize writing as a process and begin to reflect upon their writing in a metacognitive way.” — Calley Hornbuckle, Columbia College

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface for Instructors: Busy, Busy, Busy
Introduction for Students: Strategies for Succeeding as a College Writer


  • Chapter 1: Academic Writing: An Overview
    • Why Write?
    • Writing as Inquiry and Process
    • High-School vs. University English
    • What Do Professors Really Want?
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others
  • Chapter 2: Academic Reading
    • Effective Reading Habits
    • Annotation
    • Double-Entry Journal
    • Analysis
    • Summary
    • Reverse Outline
    • Paraphrase
    • Quotations
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others
  • Chapter 3: Ideas into Text
    • Getting Started
    • Lightning Research
    • Invention
    • The Three Appeals
    • Discussion
    • Sooner Rather Than Later
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others
  • Chapter 4: Arguments and Organization
    • Thesis Statements
    • Outlines
    • Considering Other Perspectives
    • Topic Sentences
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others
  • Chapter 5: Researching Your Topic
    • The CARS Checklist
    • Library Databases
    • Books
    • Internet Sources
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others


  • Chapter 6: Introduction: Hooking Your Reader
    • Opening Sentences
    • Topic Overview
    • Ending with Your Thesis
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others
  • Chapter 7: Body Paragraphs: And I Ought to Keep Reading Because?
    • Paragraph Structure
    • Transitions
    • Expert Opinions and Concrete Evidence
    • Quotations
    • Interviews and Surveys
    • Narrative and Description
    • Multimodal Moves
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others
  • Chapter 8: Conclusion: Wait … Don’t Stop
    • Conclusion Dos and Don’ts
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others


  • Chapter 9: Taking Another Look
    • Revision
    • Editing
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others
  • Chapter 10: Handing It Over
    • Design and Presentation
    • Proofreading
    • Titles
    • Damian’s Revision
    • Knowing When to Stop
    • Working Alone
    • Working with Others

Appendix I: Genres of Academic Writing

  • Analyzing a Text
  • Arguing a Position
  • Proposing a Solution
  • aking an Evaluation

Appendix II: A Brief Guide to Documentation

  • Identifying and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • MLA 9: Citing Your Sources
  • MLA 9: Sample Citations
  • APA 7: Citing Your Sources
  • APA 7: Sample Citations

Permissions Acknowledgments

David Starkey is Emeritus Professor of English at Santa Barbara City College, where he served as Director of Composition and Creative Writing. He is the author of Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief and the editor of Teaching Accelerated and Corequisite Composition and two collections of scholarly essays on composition and creative writing: Teaching Writing Creatively and Genre by Example: Writing What We Teach.

  • Step-by-step explanation of the writing process from drafting to revision, editing, and citation
  • Realistic approach that acknowledges that students balance study with real life
  • • Warm, conversational tone and practical advice that demystify academic writing conventions
  • • Chapters designed to be read in a single sitting
  • • Chapter exercises divided into assignments students can carry out on their own, and those that require collaboration
  • Time-saving tips, visual aids, and skill-building activities
  • Sample student papers in the four most frequently assigned genres of college writing
  • • MLA documentation has been updated for 2021, and current APA citation has been added
  • • The “Academic Reading” chapter features a new article, “Should Two- and Four-Year Degrees Be Free?,” which serves as the basis for learning about textual analysis

Read Chapter 3: Ideas into Text from Academic Writing Now, Second Edition! (Opens as a PDF.)