Academic Writing Now – with Readings
A Brief Guide for Busy Students
  • Publication Date: April 15, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781554816491 / 1554816491
  • 360 pages; 6" x 9"

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Academic Writing Now – with Readings

A Brief Guide for Busy Students

  • Publication Date: April 15, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781554816491 / 1554816491
  • 360 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.

A compact selection of lively, topical readings provides thought-provoking examples for analysis and discussion.


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 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


  • Artificial Intelligence
    • “The End of High-School English,” Daniel Herman
    • “What ChatGPT Can’t Teach My Writing Students,” Jonathan Malesic
    • “Ban or Embrace? Colleges Wrestle with A.I.-Generated Admissions Essays,” Natasha Singer
    • “Artificial Intelligence May Be Coming for Your Job,” Jack Kelly
    • “What’s the Future for A.I.?” Cade Metz
  • Can’t We All Just Get Along?
    • “America Is Growing Apart, Possibly for Good,” Ronald Brownstein
    • “Free Speech Doesn’t Mean Free Rein to Shout Down Others,” David French
    • “Conservatives and Liberals Are Wrong About Each Other,” Victoria Parker
    • “The Real Reason We Don’t All Just Get Along,” Jeremy E. Sherman
  • Our Changing Planet
    • “5 Tips on How to Live Like a Lichen,” A. Laurie Palmer
    • “How Are Shein Hauls Making Our Planet Unlivable?” Marthe de Ferrer
    • “How to Be Sort of Vegan—and How It Would Help the Planet,” Dino Grandoni
    • “Weather Disasters Have Become 5 Times as Common, Thanks in Part to Climate Change,” Eric McDaniel
  • That’s Entertainment
    • “All Rap Is Local,” Sheldon Pearce
    • “The Rise of BookTok: Meet the Teen Influencers Pushing Books Up the Charts,” Alison Floor
    • “Why Playing Games Is Good for You,” Ellie Smith
    • “Barbie: the Patriarchy, the Existentialism, the Capitalism,” Charles Bramesco
    • “A Critical Theory of Binge Watching,” Jake Pitre
  • Campus Life
    • “Five Pieces of Advice for Freshmen Struggling to Adjust to Campus Life,” Ellie Adam
    • “College Student Political Beliefs and Voting—What Matters?” Marybeth Gasman
    • “What ‘The Red Zone’ on College Campuses Teaches Us About Sexual Assault,” David Oliver
    • “College Students Were ‘Woke’ in the ‘60s, Annoying to their Elders and Drivers of Social Change. Meet Their Successors,” Michael S. Roth
    • “What Happened When This College Student Drank Too Much, Too Quickly,” Ben Yeager

Appendix I: Genres of Academic Writing

  • Analyzing a Text
  • Arguing a Position
  • Proposing a Solution
  • Making 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

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
  • • Includes 23 short readings on contemporary issues