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Write with Spunk and Bite

Updated on November 17, 2014
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Make Your Writing More Engaging

Generations of students and writers relied on the classic, Elements of Style by E.B. White and Wiliam Strunk Jr. A slim book, it advises writers on how to write more clearly. Now it has a challenger in Arthur Plotnik's Spunk & Bite. Of course, the title is a play on Strunk and White.

I'll share with you some of the methods Plotnik recommends for writing with a "punchier, more engaging language and style." If you're writing the Great American Novel, blogging, journaling or just writing for business, this book has insight to make you a better writer.

Chapter Headings for Spunk & Bite

1. E.B. Whitewashed : a starting point -- Freshness : the wallop of the new

2. The pleasures of surprise

3. Extreme expression

4. Writers' words, drop by dottle

5. Upgrading your colors

6. Joltingly fresh adverbs -- Texture : writing into the mood

7. Tense : a sticky choice

8. Diction : we are the words

9. The punchy trope -- Word : language, aerobatic and incandescent

10. How to loot a thesaurus

11. Words with music and sploosh

12. Coining the bonne locution

13. Words with foreign umami -- Force : stimulation by any means

14. Dialogue tags with oomph

15. Enallage : a fun grammatical get

16. Intensifiers for the feeble

17. Opening words : the glorious portal

18. Closings : the three-point landing -- Form : life between the marks

19. The joys of hyper-hyphenation

20. A license. To fragment. Sentences

21. The poetry lists

22. The art of the semicolon

23. Daringly quoteless dialogue -- Clarity : "a house of great spickness and spanness"

24. The feng shui of writing

25. Hunting down danglers

26. Magic in the names of things

27. The earnestly engaging sentence -- Contemporaneity : a leg up on the competition

28. Writing for new generations

29. Hot pop and ephemeragy

30. Edge : writing at the nervy limits

31. Parting words : butterflies in the killing fields.

Here's the Book - to add punch to your writing style

Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style
Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style

The new reader has a short attention span. Plotnik advocates writers keeping that audience in mind and to add some punch to grab the reader.

 

Arthur Plotnik

More Books on Writing by This Author

The Elements of Authorship

The Elements of Authorship: Unabashed Advice, Undiluted Experience, Unadulterated Inspiration for Writers and Writers-to-be
The Elements of Authorship: Unabashed Advice, Undiluted Experience, Unadulterated Inspiration for Writers and Writers-to-be

If you want to see his other titles, The Elements of Editing - A Modern Guide for Editors and Journalists or

 

Biographical Information on Arthur Plotnik

Expanding Your Vocabulary

In chapter four, the author of Spunk & Bite describes collecting an arsenal of words to pep up your writing. Here are some recommended Internet sources to get you started.

Hunting Down Danglers

Read chapter 25 in Spunk & Bite if this is a problem area for you.

Learn how to spot faulty modifiers in your writing.

Here's the Classic - Strunk and White's The Elements of Style

In Praise of The Elements of Style

Writers talk about how important it is to them. (videos from Youtube)

Variations on Elements of Style

The Elements of Style [Illustrated]
The Elements of Style [Illustrated]

This is an updated version with some of the language brought into more current use. The illustrations make it more appealing to the current readers who are used to a lot of graphics online.

 

Dueling Books - Elements of Style or Spunk and Bite???

Tell us about your writing style...

I'm ready to add zip to my writing with Spunk & Bite.

I'm ready to add zip to my writing with Spunk & Bite.

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    • callinsky lm 7 years ago

      My writing has been called many things but never traditional. Ta haa haaa haa

    • grannysage 7 years ago

      I hope I succeed in being spunky in my writing. I like to bend and twist things now and then.

    I'm a traditionalist. I'll stick with the classic, Elements of Style.

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      Upgrade Your Colors - Tips from Spunk & Bite

      The book devotes a whole chapter to avoiding cliched color descriptions like her face turned lobster red under a steel-gray sky. I'm afraid I cringed a bit, as I'm sure I've described things as fire engine red or emerald green.

      In Spunk & Bite, it tells writers that "color imagery should be fresh and inventive, but not constantly over-the-top." Plotnik gives ways to apply inventive metaphors to color and gives quite a few examples.

      © 2010 Virginia Allain

      Do You Want to Add Spunk and Bite to Your Writing Style?

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          grannysage 7 years ago

          This looks like a really good book. I need to add it to my growing list. I do have to chase my dangling participles, but what else are they good for? Thought provoking and appears to be a good resource.

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          Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

          Not sure, I'll have to check out the book first ;) Sounds like a very interesting read in any case, and I enjoyed finding out about it here.