Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Arthur Plotnik  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction History Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult;

Born: October 1, 1937, in White Plains, NY

-- Website --
-- Arthur Plotnik on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Arthur Plotnik has lived in Chicago since 1974. He worked for the American Library Association there from 1974 to 1997.

Biographical and Professional Information

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Elements of Expression
ISBN: 0760782571

Barnes & Noble. 2006

Unusual book

Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives
ISBN: 1573446602

Viva Editions. 2011

A veritable "tko of terminology," Better Than Great is the essential guide for describing the extraordinary -- the must-have reference for anyone wishing to rise above tired superlatives.

Deft praise encourages others to feel as we do, share our enthusiasms. It rewards deserving objects of admiration. It persuades people to take certain actions. It sells things.

Sadly, in this "age of awesome," our words and phrases of acclaim are exhausted, all but impotent. Even so, we find ourselves defaulting to such habitual choices as "good," "great," and "terrific," or stock synonyms that tumble out of a thesaurus -- "superb," "marvelous," "outstanding," and the like. The piling on of intensifers such as "totally" only makes matters worse, while negative modifiers ("incredible," "unreal") render our common parlance nearly tragic. Until now.

Not to mince words, wunderkind of word-wonks Arthur Plotnik is proffering a well-knit wellspring of worthy and wondrous words to rescue our worn-down usage. Plotnik is both hella AND hecka up to the task of rescuing the English superlative, offering readers the chance never to be at a loss for words of praise and acclamation!

Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style
ISBN: 0375722270

Random House Reference. 2007

Today's writer needs more than just a solid knowledge of usage and composition to write successfully. Bestselling author Arthur Plotnik reveals the secrets to attention-grabbing, unforgettable writing, in this trade paperback edition.

Updated with all-new writing exercises, Spunk & Bite will help writers take books, articles, business reports, memos, and even social- media posts to the next level.

The Elements of Editing a modern guide for editors and journalists

Collier/Macmillan. 1988

Large novel size softcover as seen, vg. We ship worldwide from San Francisco bay area.

The Elements of Authorship: Unabashed Advice, Undiluted Experience, Unadulterated Inspiration for Writers and Writers-to-be
ISBN: 059500119X

iUniverse. 2000

"This is a book for aspiring writers that has few equals." Chicago Tribune Lyrical writing and rock-solid advice distinguish The Elements of Authorship from most writers' guides. No such guide is more engaging, entertaining - or authoritative. Arthur Plotnik, whose classic The Elements of Editing is in its 18th year of print, draws on a uniquely broad background as writer, editor, and publisher. The Elements of Authorship gives clearheaded advice and comic relief to anguished writers - which is to say all writers - aspiring to the exalted state known as "published author." It is, as one reviewer noted, "a heartening foray into the construction and maintenance of a career in writing." Even as it explores the hellish aspects of that career, it reassures new authors that writing - published or unpublished - is worth the pain.

The Urban Tree Book: An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town
ISBN: 0812931033

Three Rivers Press. 2000

Open The Urban Tree Book and discover the joys of forest trekking--right in your city or town. This first-of-a-kind field guide introduces readers to the trees on their block, in neighborhood parks, and throughout the urban landscape. Unlike traditional tree guides with dizzying numbers of woodland species, The Urban Tree Book explores nature in the city, describing some 200 tree types likely to be found on North America's streets and surrounding spaces, including suburban settings.

With telling descriptions and precise botanical detail, this unique guide not only identifies trees but brings them to life through history, lore, anecdotes, up-to-date facts, and hundreds of fascinating characteristics. More than 175 graceful illustrations capture the charm of trees in urban settings and depict leaf, flower, fruit, and bark features for identification and appreciation.

The Urban Tree Book will inform even the most knowledgeable plant person and delight urbanites who simply enjoy strolling beneath the shade of welcoming trees. An engaging excursion into the "urban forest," this complete guide to city trees will both entertain and enlighten nature lovers, urban hikers, gardeners, and everyone curious about their environment. Includes a tree planting-and-care section, tree primer, and exploration guide
Is backed by the expertise of the renowned Morton Arboretum
Incorporates new "urban forestry" perspectives
Covers urban trees across the continent
Lists key organizations and institutions for tree lovers
Selects the best tree sites on the Internet
Updates many guides by 20 years

Man Behind the Quill, Jacob Shallus
ISBN: 0911333584

Natl Archives Trust Fund Board. 1987

Library Life--American Style: A Journalist's Field Report
ISBN: 0810808528

Scarecrow Pr. 1975

Plotnik, Arthur

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Publicity relating to Better Than Great or Plotnik on words, writing, expressiveness

Nancy Fish, Marketing & Publicity Manager, Viva Editions. 510/845-8000 or 800/780-2279. Fax, 510-845-8001. Kat Sanborn, Marketing & Editorial Associate, iva Editions. 510/845-8000. Fax, 510-845-8001.

Rights and new projects

Literary agent Roger Williams New England Publishing Associates 609-843-0160