Writing on Fire
A Fierce Yet Friendly Guide to Writing Humanities Essays in College
  • Publication Date: May 31, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781554816644 / 1554816645
  • 250 pages; 6" x 9"

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Writing on Fire

A Fierce Yet Friendly Guide to Writing Humanities Essays in College

  • Publication Date: May 31, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781554816644 / 1554816645
  • 250 pages; 6" x 9"

What’s the best way to write a paper that analyzes a novel, a poem, a work of art, a film, or a set of historical documents? Writing on Fire focuses intensively on the fundamentals of writing college humanities papers. Each chapter offers tips, tricks, and templates that students won’t find anywhere else. The book speaks directly to young writers in language that’s fun and accessible, and is designed to work in the classroom, in the dorm room, or at the kitchen table—anywhere that writing work takes place.

The book moves in order from the broadest questions of structure to the most detailed questions of sentences and style. Designed for maximum appeal and usefulness, each chapter has a concise title naming a key component of the writing process—from “Keywords” and “Thesis Statement” to “Structure” and “Paragraphs.” Main concepts are summarized and then detailed in concrete bullet points at the chapter’s end. Each chapter provides a distinctive blend of advice, templates, examples, exercises, and humorous commentary. The book shows that writing is a process, demonstrating in clear steps how to arrive at the kind of complex writing that professors are looking for.

Writing on Fire shows students what to do and how to do it, while making an argument for humanistic college writing as a vital form of self-expression.

Acknowledgements
Note to Instructors

PART ONE. BASIC ASSUMPTIONS

  • 1. Why We’re Here: The Art of the Essay
  • 2. What is an Argument?
  • 3. Your Reader: Not Just Your Professor, But Also Your Roommate

PART TWO. KICK-STARTING THE WRITING PROCESS

  • 4. Keywords: Choosing the Paper’s Themes & Sub-Themes
  • 5. Close-Reading: The Power of a Single Word
  • 6. Drafting: A Few Techniques for Assembling Your Paper

PART THREE. HOW TO ANALYZE STUFF IN THE HUMANITIES

  • 7. How to Analyze a Novel
  • 8. How to Analyze a Poem
  • 9. How to Analyze a Play
  • 10. How to Analyze a Film
  • 11. How to Analyze Historical Documents
  • 12. How to Analyze a Work of Visual Art

PART FOUR. HEART OF THE PAPER: ARGUMENT AND STRUCTURE

  • 13. The Introduction: The Most Important Thing You Will Ever Write
  • 14. Thesis Statement: Make Us Care
  • 15. Structure I: The Ordering of Ideas
  • 16. Structure II: Compare/Contrast and Research Papers

PART FIVE. PARAGRAPHS AND WHAT GOES IN THEM

  • 17. Paragraph: Chiseling the Paper’s Building Blocks
  • 18. Quotation: Managing Other People’s Words
  • 19. Evidence: What to Put Inside Your Paragraphs

PART SIX. FINESSE, VOICE, REVISION, AND STYLE

  • 20. Counter-Argument: Finessing Your Analysis
  • 21. Diction and Tone: Creating Your Persona as a Writer
  • 22. Revision: Don’t Be Afraid to Tear it All Up
  • 23. Style: Sentences of Force and Beauty

PART SEVEN. FINAL TOUCHES

  • 24. Title: Surprisingly Important
  • 25. Conclusion: Making It Memorable
  • 26. A Sample Paper, Dissected

Rachel Teukolsky is Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

  • • Provides direct, detailed, and explicit instruction on how to write a paper that analyzes a text.
  • • Moves in order through the writing process, from brainstorming and drafting through revision.
  • • Summarizes main concepts of each chapter and then details them at the end in concrete bullet points.
  • • Uses memorable metaphors to help students understand challenging concepts.
  • • Draws on a diverse array of voices, cultures, and media.
  • • Formatted explicitly for the student reader, with shorter paragraphs, lists, and boxed “Pro-Tips.”
  • • Offers a multitude of examples, with sample analytical paragraphs, topic sentences, thesis statements, and sentences revised for style.
  • • Allows instructors to test each new skill with an innovative writing exercise.