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The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts Into Wordsby Arthur Plotnik
Synopses & Reviews
More than ever in this completely updated edition, The Elements of Expression helps word users "light up the cosmos or the written page or the face across the table" as they seek the radiance of expressiveness—the vivid expression of thoughts, feelings, and observations.
Nothing kills radiance like the murky, generic language dominating today's talk, airwaves, and posts. It tugs at our every sentence, but using it to express anything beyond the ordinary is like flapping the tongue to escape gravity. The Elements of Expression offers an adventurous and inspiring flight into words that truly share what's percolating in our minds. Here writers, presenters, students, bloggers—even well intentioned "Mad Men"—will discover language to convey precise feelings, move audiences, delight and persuade.
No snob or scold, the acclaimed word-maven Arthur Plotnik explores the full range of expressiveness, from playful "tough talk" to finely wrought literature, with hundreds of rousing examples. Confessing that we are all "like a squid in its ink" when first groping for luminous expression, he shines his amiable wit on the elements leading, ultimately, to language of "fissionable intensity."
NEWLY REVISED AND EXPANDED EDITION
There are many grammar and usage books that give advice on correct English. This isn't one of them. The Elements of Expression targets expressiveness as a goal apart from getting it technically right. Imagine the yawns a sportscaster would induce by announcing, "His bat struck the ball and the ball went into the stands," instead of "He took that ball downtown!" And why say, "I'd prefer it if you didn't volunteer your opinions," if what you really mean is "When I want your advice, I'll beat it out of you" (Chuck Norris, Code of Silence)?
Written with uncommon wit and humor, The Elements of Expression offers writers, speakers, and self-improvers a fresh look at how they express (or fail to express) their thoughts and feelings. Plotnik supplies many engaging examples of adventurous language to show the tremendous power of words to describe and enliven human experience.
Want merely to write correctly? Turn to those shelf-loads of "proper" books. For people who care about language and want to write or speak forcefully, effectively—in a word, expressively—this is the book to crack open.
Don't Just Say Something—Have an Adventure with Words
If a word falls in today's impenetrable forest of words, does anyone hear it? Now, in this updated and expanded edition, Plotnik treats expressiveness in a world of texts, tweets, rap, apps and joyful diversity. Embracing both the new and classic forms, with hundreds of vivid examples, he leads word-users from the dull generic to the fissionable—language that blasts thoughts and feelings into expression of the first intensity.
About the Author
Arthur Plotnik is a versatile author with a distinguished background in editing and publishing. Among his seven previous books (not to mention 22 pseudonymous potboilers early in his career) are The Elements of Editing and The Elements of Expression, both Book-of-the-Month Club selections, and the best-selling Spunk and Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style. His articles, op-eds, and literary pieces have been published widely, including his columns in The Writer magazine, on whose editorial board he serves.
Plotnik studied under Philip Roth in the Iowa Writers Workshop, was a reporter for the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union, and after earning a second graduate degree, worked as a Library of Congress staffer in Washington and magazine editor in New York. He received numerous honors and awards as a long-time editor and publisher with the American Library Association in Chicago. He lives in that city with his wife and an avalanchine tumble of jottings for Better than Great.
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