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Writing With Power [Paperback]

Peter Elbow
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

13 Aug 1998
Writing with Power is a guide for the student writing an essay, the professional writer working on a story, or the manager writing a memo for a tight deadline. As Elbow explains, "Writing with power doesn't just mean getting power over readers. It means getting power over yourself and over the writing process: knowing what you are doing as you write; figuring out what you really mean; being in charge, having control; not feeling stuck or helpless or intimidated. I am particularly interested in this second kind of power in writing, and I have found that without it you seldom achieve the first kind". For the second edition, Elbow has written a new introduction in which he discusses in detail the "mysterious" dimensions of "Writing with Power" - voice, quality and bad writing, wrongness and felt sense, and sharing written work with others.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; 2 edition (13 Aug 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195120183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195120189
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Elbow is Professor of English and Director of the writing program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful book about writing 7 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book. It takes you through many different forms of writing and makes you feel it's not just possible, but easy and enjoyable. Many 'how to' books do that, of course - but this guy knows his onions and by the time you've read the book, you too can tell a shallot from a scallion.
My favourite chapter - Poetry as no Big Deal.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book gave me my job 6 Jan 2000
It is in fact very simple: This book - or rather, an older, former edition of it - was given to me as a birthday present ten years ago. Ever since I have been writing. Writingwritingwriting. Today I am a professionel prose writer. Writing is how I make my living. I write fiction, essays, feature-, science-, and literary journalism in Denmarks leading newspaper. But it all began with this book. With its fine "questions to help you write about ..." (e.g. Is your problem a type of insanity? Do you need to take a pill, or to be cared for and nursed while living trough the madness). With its fundamental division between being creative and being discriminating. With its very clear and - frankly - choking ways of presenting things in a way that can make you believe in yourself. I found the book here on the net, because I am going to buy it. My first copy was almost used up, when I lented it to someone who didn't return it. No wonder. But, Rebecca, when you are finished could you pass it on? Please. Someone else might need it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Experienced writer Peter Elbow takes issue with "the dangerous method" of writing: trying to turn out a good written product at one sitting. We are lured into this approach by its false potential to save time and effort. As readers, we move rapidly through well-written prose, enjoying the experience and assuming that the author has moved just as quickly and with as little effort in producing it. Not so, warns Elbow. We need to throw off the pressures of procrastination and deadlines to learn a better way.

The beginning of wisdom is to see writing as two processes. Writers should first give free reign to their creativity, getting as much written as possible. It is not yet the time for criticism or correction, but for fostering the flow of ideas and impressions from the writer's mind--conscious and unconscious--to paper or computer screen. Only after this fountain has gushed forth its all does the task turn to the careful shaping of ideas for the reader and clearing away all but necessary detail. Elbow's central message is that we should use the strengths of both processes, neither stifling our writing with premature evaluation nor abandoning our creative concepts before they have been fully formed.

Elbow's book supports development of our writing abilities within this two-part framework. The first section introduces the two core writing processes and emphasizes the value of freewriting early in the process and of obtaining feedback from others later on. The next two sections present techniques for getting words on paper and for revising those words into a readable final product. The three sections in the book's second half elaborate the author's writing model. Readers learn to identify their intended audience and use them to bring focus to their writing.
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