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Styles and Structures: alternative approaches to college writing
  • Charles Kay Smith
This book has two parts. The first half is about style in writing. I define style as the traits of language, as well as habits of mind and organization that create an individual writer’s character. New writers usually lack knowledge of the many linguistic, grammatical and organizational resources that are available to her and how these might be combined to give character to writing. I have chosen four very different styles to analyze rigorously enough to offer several diverse ethograms of writing and thinking behavior, for the way we characteristically write is the way we characteristically think. A new writer can immediately try out each of these diverse writing programs. The purpose is not to recommend any one right style but to offer an easy way for the new writer, in the least amount of time, to master many alternative writing resources and how they work together. In time, new writers will begin to choose their own writing characters from the many alternatives they have learned.
The last half of this book is devoted to explaining many alternative ways of thinking and organizing. My goal was to enable anyone who reads these last chapters, and tries the exercises, to think and organize interdisciplinary academic material both critically and creatively. Critical thinking is encouraged by chapters on ways of probing definitions, assumptions, perceptions and criteria. Creativity is a human attribute of combining two or more ideas into a new hybrid. Once we practice hybridizing ideas, creative hybrids will begin to happen intuitively. The more clear ideas from every discipline we learn, the more creative we can become. This book is not written only for English majors, nor only for the brightest scholars. It uses clear and interesting examples from many different disciplines. One kind reviewer said the book was “a liberal arts education in 436 pages.” I hope so, for my intention was to help all who read it to think at a high level, both critically and creatively, in whatever disciplines they choose. I wrote this book many years ago but still think it works.
  • Writing,
  • Styles,
  • Critical and Creative Thinking,
  • Definitions,
  • Assumptions,
  • Cross-structuring,
  • Reperception,
  • Criteria
Publication Date
June, 1974
W.W. Norton
ISBN: 0-393-09273-9
Citation Information
Charles Kay Smith. Styles and Structures: alternative approaches to college writing. 1stNew York(1974)
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