Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20902
Title: Sharpening your 'rhetorical cutlery': Review of Roslyn Petelin 'How Writing Works: A field guide to effective writing' Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest NSW 2016, ISBN 9781925266917, Pb 336pp AUD39.99
Contributor(s): Williamson, Rosemary A  (author)
Publication Date: 2017
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20902
Open Access Link: http://www.textjournal.com.au/april17/williamson_rev.htmOpen Access Link
Abstract: A good metaphor can delight the reader, distilling as it does the author's perception of her subject in an original way, so it is a pleasure to encounter one early on in How Writing Works. In the first chapter, Roslyn Petelin uses the metaphor of 'sharp rhetorical cutlery' for the tools writers need to produce something 'worth reading' (13). By using rhetorical cutlery, the writer cuts up and arranges words, tests the effect, and even tosses words off the plate before deciding that what's offered up is worth reading and will have the intended effect. This book helps to keep the cutlery sharp and in good working order. In other words, How Writing Works is a guide to writing well across a range of professional contexts. It has eleven chapters. The first provides a thought-provoking explication of writing contexts, careers and practices, and nudges the reader to action: 'To get you started on keeping a journal, you might like to write …' (9). A list of activities concludes the chapter. Subsequent chapters follow this format, and like Chapter one contain plenty of bullet point lists and illustrative matter to clarify and complement content. Chapter two explores the 'osmotic relationship' (19) between writing and reading. (By the way, I complete one of the Chapter two activities as I write this review.) Chapters three to five interrogate writing at word, sentence and paragraph levels, and provide a grounding in grammar and punctuation. Chapter seven, on structure and design, moves to visual as well as verbal elements of writing. The next two chapters deal with genre (workplace and academic). Chapter ten has sections on established or emerging forms of digital writing, such as twitter and texting. The final chapter covers revising, editing, and proofreading. Whatever its topic, each chapter helps readers 'to gain control' over their writing and produce 'the concise, lucid, nuanced, and compelling prose that is so valued in universities and in the professions' (ix).
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: TEXT, 21(1), p. 1-4
Publisher: Australasian Association of Writing Programs
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1327-9556
Field of Research (FOR): 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
190302 Professional Writing
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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