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The Mad Scientist's Guide to Composition
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Monsters are Scary, but Writing Doesn’t Have to Be!
  • Your Turn: Anxieties
  • Chapter 1: Nuts and Bolts: Mechanics
  • Your Turn: The Horror, The Horror!
  • Dismembered Parts of Speech
  • Your Turn: Mad-Libbing Monster Style
  • The Curious Case of the Incomplete Clause
  • Danger Words
  • I Am Legion: The Singular They
  • Punctuation of Doooommmmmm
  • This is the End (end punctuation)
  • The comma: look upon me and despair
  • That vs. Witch
  • Commas Around Titles?
  • Comma splices
  • The Mysterious Semicolon
  • Transitional phrases
  • The Revenge of the Apostrophe
  • Colon-oscopy
  • Quotation Marks: The Summoning
  • Punctuation Placement
  • Your Turn: Sentences Gone Mad!
  • Your Turn: The Paragraph from Hell
  • Paranormal Paragraphs
  • How Many Paragraphs?
  • The Between: Transitions
  • Your Turn: Cross Over Children—Transitions
  • Chapter 2: Graverobbing: finding sources, evaluating sources, and incorporating sources
  • Conjuring Spirits: Finding and Using Sources
  • Terminology: Primary vs. Secondary Sources
  • Terminology: Scholarly vs. Non-Scholarly Sources
  • Terminology: Periodicals and Journals
  • Terminology: Just What the Heck is a Novel?
  • Terminology: Editors and Edited Collections
  • Burial Sites: Finding Sources
  • Databases
  • Working Backwards from References Lists
  • Here Lies Truth: Evaluating Sources
  • Peer Reviewed Sources
  • Publication Venue
  • Bias vs. Biased
  • Media Sources and Bias
  • Authors
  • Sources of Despair
  • Encyclopedia Articles
  • Book Reviews
  • Wikipedia
  • Academia.edu
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Translating Incantations: Reading for Meaning
  • Your Turn: Reading for Meaning
  • Speak Spirit! Incorporation Sources
  • Note taking
  • Summary
  • Paraphrase
  • Quotation
  • Your Turn: Summary, Paraphrase, Quotation
  • How To Avoid Angering the Dead: Plagiarism and Quotation
  • Signal Phrases
  • Quotation Marks: Single vs. Double
  • Quotation Marks: Placement with Punctuation
  • Quotations Explained
  • Chapter 3: Readying the Lab: Brainstorming, Formulating an Argument, Outlining
  • Brainstorming
  • Arguments: Thesis statement Guidelines
  • Use of the First Person in Academic Writing
  • Your Turn: Evaluating Arguments
  • Outlining
  • Chapter 4: Conducting Experiments: Writing to Inform, Writing to Persuade, and Writing to Evaluate
  • Rhetoric of the Damned: The Art of Persuasion
  • Context, Audience, Conventions
  • Diction and Tone
  • Your Turn: Context, Audience, and Conventions
  • Rhetorical Strategies
  • Ethos, Logos, Pathos
  • Your Turn: The Classical Appeals
  • The Five A’s: Allusion, Analogy, Anecdote, Assertion, Authority
  • Your Turn: The Five A’s
  • Rhetorical Fallacies
  • Your Turn: Rhetorical Fallacies
  • Your Turn: The Rhetorical Analysis
  • Channeling Information: Writing to Inform
  • Experiment: The Informational Essay
  • Mirroring the Soul: The Personal Reflection
  • Experiment: The Reflective Essay
  • Unholy Mash-up? Synthesizing Sources
  • Experiment: The Synthesis
  • Here for An Argument
  • In the Beginning: Introductions
  • Since the Beginning of Time
  • Pieces of the Body: Body Paragraphs
  • Cherry-picking Support
  • Final Destination: the Conclusion
  • Experiment: The Argumentative Essay
  • Success or Failure? Writing to Evaluate
  • Experiment: The Evaluation
  • Chapter 5: The Monster Lives! … or Does it? Revision, Retroactive Outlining, Peer Reviewing
  • Self Review
  • Final Steps…
  • The Perilous and Painful Process of Peer Review
  • Re-Vision
  • Retroactive Outlining
  • Return of the Dead: Revision in Action
  • Your Turn: Retroactive Outlines
  • Your Turn: Peer Reviewing and Outlining
  • Your Turn: The Error Log
  • Your Turn: Further Evaluation
  • Chapter 6: Placating Ghosts: Systems of Citing Sources to Avoid Angering the Dead … and the Living
  • Plagiarism (again)
  • Italics vs. Quotation Marks: A Battle to the Death for the Ages
  • Monsters Love Asparagus (MLA formatting)
  • Audacious Paranormal Association (APA)
  • Cunning Methods of Suffering (Chicago Manual of Style)
  • Ouija
  • Chapter 7: The Great Beyond…
  • Your Turn: A Letter to Your Former Self
  • Addendum 1: Successful Experiment 1
  • “The Stigmatization of Mental Disorders in Psychological Thrillers” by Katelyn Miller
  • Addendum 2: Successful Experiment 2
  • “Pennywise the Dancing Clown as a Metaphor for Bullying” by Dimitri Dikhel
  • Addendum 3: Common Mad Scientist Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
  • Addendum 4: Finishing Touches
  • Addendum 5: A Monstrous Word Search

About the Author

Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock is Professor of English at Central Michigan University and an Associate Editor for The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. He is the author or editor of 22 books on questionable topics ranging from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Edgar Allan Poe. These include The Monster Theory Reader (University of Minnesota Press), The Cambridge Companion to the American Gothic (Cambridge UP), The Age of Lovecraft (with Carl Sederholm, Minnesota), Goth Music: From Sound to Subculture (with Isabella van Elferen, Routledge), The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters (Ashgate), The Vampire Film: Undead Cinema (Wallflower), and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Wallflower). Visit him at JeffreyAndrewWeinstock.com.

Reviews

“In an ideal world, writing would be taught with joy, create a sense of adventure, emphasize invention, and be full of monsters. Welcome to that ideal world. Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock’s The Mad Scientist’s Guide to Composition will resonate profoundly with students and teachers who want an accessible, enjoyable, and riveting invitation to best writing practices—and to unbounded imagination.” — Jeffrey J. Cohen, Dean of Humanities, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University“As its subtitle promises, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to Composition is somewhat cheeky, but the subtitle undersells just how useful it is. Focusing on real issues that plague student writing and student writers, Weinstock walks students through the process of writing an essay from start to finish, identifying common missteps and questions that may arise while providing examples from his own students’ writing and the work of published authors. Whether read from beginning to end or mined for appropriate sections to complement ongoing work in a class, this Guide is a must-have for anyone with a sense of humor looking to be a better writer or for composition instructors hoping to make reading about writing, well, a little bit more fun.” — Leah Richards, LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York“Many composition textbooks seem to be under the influence of the idea that, in order to be helpful, textbooks need to be dry and formal. Weinstock is in no way dry or formal. … Overall, I love this book because of its accessibility, its ability to joke (and resonate with) both student and instructor, and because it focuses on the things I want to teach … this is also the first textbook that I have read from cover to cover out of pure enjoyment, while also annotating everything Weinstock wrote. It is this last factor—that I could learn from and enjoy it—that sold me on teaching this book.” — Rebekah Phillips, University of Delaware“The Mad Scientist’s Guide to Composition (A Somewhat Cheeky but Exceedingly Useful Introduction to Academic Writing) is probably the most high-spirited book we are ever likely to review in these pages. … But don’t be fooled; the merriment serves a serious purpose, keeping its intended readers engaged with a subject—writing papers—many of them dread. … If I had had this when I was doing my undergraduate work, it would have saved me a lot of learning time. And, I suspect, many a graduate student, and not a few working technical writers, would benefit from what is found here as well. Considering that this is a composition handbook, Weinstock has performed a miracle: He has brought the dead to life and produced a handbook that students might not only read but heed.” — Patrick Lufkin, Technical Communication

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