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Slant: Writing Essays You Want to Read Paperback – June 11, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Heteroclite (June 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615494064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615494067
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Student Review
"Every time I read this book, I feel like the author wrote the book just for me.  It's like he's sitting here and we're having a conversation."              - Nora Gustafson, College Student



Student Review
"Before reading Slant, I was hesitant to show my own voice.  I felt my writing was broad and nothing special. After using Slant, I developed my own style, making my writing unique and more appealing to my readers." -Cassidy Young, College Student

From the Author

The idea at the core of this writing textbook is that every essay writing class is a creative writing class.  One of the unfortunate malfunctions of teaching essay writing has been its separation from creative writing, which often seems like more fun to students. 
 
However, everyone who has ever been in a rigorous creative writing class knows that poetry, fiction, and memoir have all the same elements and expectations that essay writing classes do.  A creative writer must include structure, style and compelling content.  The differences between the two have to do merely with purpose, not with creation or discipline.
 
On the one hand, students often like the appeal of creative writing because they believe there are fewer rules.  They often rightly believe that in a creative writing class they can more accurately "be themselves" in their writing, have more fun, and express their ideas in a less constrained form--one that encourages their own "voice."  When they write academic essays, they frequently feel they have to write in a dull, boring, and monotone voice.  They often believe they are supposed to be learning how to write like someone else.  That's tragic.
 
Slant's purpose is to help correct that.  However, I didn't write Slant to support this idea that writing is a free-for-all or that it doesn't have rigorous expectations.  If a student takes a class called "The Fundamentals of Drawing," the teacher isn't going to just stick a sheet of paper in front of the student with some pencils and say, "Art is like totally free, so just draw whatever."  She would set up a vase next to some fruit and an empty bottle and ask the student to draw the still life.  She would teach the line, shading, shadowing and perspective. Being an artist takes training.  And let's be honest, it's not always as easy and pleasurable as we sometimes hope it might be.  However, that doesn't mean that it has to be dull, formulaic, or completely devoid of the writer's voice and personal style. 
 
I wrote Slant because I wanted to teach students how to structure their own ideas in an essay in order for them to engage actively and creatively in the process of writing.  The best advice I ever got about writing was from a writing professor in college named Stacy Pies.  In the hallway after class I asked her if I could write my essay in the style of an investigate newspaper journalist.  She shrugged.  
 
"Try it."


-Nicholas Leither, 2011, From the Preface of Slant

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
The exercises and examples make Slant enjoyable to read and teach.
Gabrielle Myers
It challenges the students who are ready and willing to be challenged, and at the same time, provides struggling writers with a clear path to follow.
Rosa del Duca
Good instruction even if you are not in a college level writing class.
Sharon Hobbs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to read and follow for our Essay Writing Class. Good instruction even if you are not in a college level writing class.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Abel on July 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
By using the method from this book, I went from a D to an A. The three part-trifecta makes your paper longer and gives it so much more opportunity for the imagination. Whenever I use the format from "Slant" in my college writing classes, I never dropped below a B+ on any of my papers. It transformed my writing dramatically. If it could work for me then it could work for you so try it. The school year is coming so you might as well start out with a bang.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cru Jones on May 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Slant helped me become the scholar I always wanted to be. The lessons encouraged me to be a better writer and a more thoughtful student. The exercises and encouragement to practice taught me that being a great writer is a skill you develop, not something you are born with. Now I don't dread sitting down to write an essay, I look forward to it.

Read it. You'll love it.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rosa del Duca on July 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
Slant is my Bible. I teach composition at San Jose State University, and Slant makes all the difference. The text explains the fundamentals and the logic behind the fundamentals in a more succinct and eloquent way than I can. The lessons are short and easy to incorporate into every class period because of the "Rehearse" sections, which allow students to try out what they've just learned. The writing speaks directly to today's college students without belittling them, but also without going over their heads. It challenges the students who are ready and willing to be challenged, and at the same time, provides struggling writers with a clear path to follow.

The true test of Slant's accessibility, effectiveness and popularity is a reflective essay I require at the end of the course, where students explain what kind of writers they've become during the course, and what their goals are for the rest of their college careers. Although Slant is not in the prompt, nearly every single student mentions the book, or at least some strategy they learned from the book. The vast majority of responses are positive--some wildly positive. Some students say they wish they'd learned Slant in high school. Some say it's the most valuable book they've put their hands on as a college student. And many wish they'd been handed it their very first semester. (I teach the second of two required undergraduate composition courses.)

I recommend this book for anyone teaching composition at the high school or college level. It's the best I've come across.
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More About the Author

For more information, visit my website: www.nicholasleither.com

I have taught writing at San Jose State University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Saint Mary's College of California. I currently teach writing and Great Books at Saint Mary's College, where I co-run a theatrical events program and direct a playwriting contest for young writers.

For more about my fiction, please visit my website.

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Slant: Writing Essays You Want to Read
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