All you need to master writing, step by step
“This is the book Pinker wishes he wrote.” “Move over, Strunk and White.” “Without peer.” “Trust me; it works.” “Just the right blend of rigor, encouragement, and fun.” “Both useful and a pleasure.” “A bounty of usable information.”
Those are just a handful of raves for The Elements of Writing (previously published as The Big Book of Writing and The Writing Code), the only comprehensive system for writing well in all fields.
Author and teacher Charles Euchner developed The Elements by systematically “reverse-engineering” some of the best writers from antiquity to modern times. provides close to 100 case studies showing how the masters approach every challenge a writer faces. Euchner shows, step by step, how the best writers deal with everything from character development to editing messy drafts.
As a result, The Elements provides tutorials from the very best in the business—Homer and Aristotle and Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Stephen Crane, Hemingway and Faulkner, Virginia Woolf and Tom Wolfe, Zadie Smith and Elizabeth Gilbert, Martin Luther King and C.S. Lewis, Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz, Laura Hillenbrand and Emma Donoghue—and dozens more.
At the core of The Elements is the Golden Rule of Writing. If you can master this simple idea, you can instantly transform your storytelling technique, write dynamic sentences and paragraphs, revise and edit drafts in a fraction of the time, and explain complex ideas in clear, straightforward prose.
In this comprehensive work, Euchner shows you how to:
- Understand the inner structure of all human perception and interaction through the Golden Rule of Writing. When you understand this secret, all of the challenges of writing come more easily.
- Build great stories, step by step, by treating compelling characters using the Character Dossier … creating a great cast of characters with the Wheel of Archetypes … create dynamic scenes using Beats and Cliffhangers … and creating a compelling “World of the Story.”
- Allow ideas to “unfold” one by one, rather than rushing and packing ideas too closely together (the “tin or sardines” problem).
- Use tools like the Landscape View, the Idea Bucket, the Tabloid Headline, Slotting, Traffic Signs, and the Search and Destroy system to take command of the mechanics of writing.
- Develop compelling arguments by applying storytelling skills to analysis—by learning how to brainstorm like a pro, isolate possible explanations for questions, and climb up and down the Ladder of Abstraction.
And so much more.
TEOW-AP explains all of the skills and techniques for all aspects of writing well–from storytelling to mechanics to analysis. But there’s a wrinkle.
The case studies used to explain these skills come from the literature on architecture and planning. So students and professionals of placemaking can see how their peers used the skills of The Elements of Writing for their purposes.
The case studies offer a veritable “Hall of Fame” for writing in the field–from Vitruvius and Thomas Jefferson to Frank Gehry and Witold Rybczynski. In this volume, you see how the most notable names in architecture and planning demonstrate the skills of writing well.