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Can anyone suggest a favorite writing guide or help manual for them? Any books on writing I could recommend to these wise and struggling students?
This topic hits home with me. I started my grad career last September after being away from school for 20-something years. Last semester wasn't too bad - it was a creative writing class, so I did fine. But this semester I've had to relearn how to write critical papers. I was very lucky to have had an excellent instructor in high school; the class was harder than any college-level writing course. Not only am I struggling with 'remembering' how to write critical papers, but I also have changed -embraced spirituality- and am having to write academically about beliefs that I 'gknow' and now have to back up! It's a real challenge. For example, my final paper this semester revolves around Zen Buddhism and the concept of consciousness as it relates to a specific poet.
Anyhow, here are some thoughts regarding what I've come to use -- I'm sure you're visiting plenty of the online sites that other schools have.
A good MLA handbook would be helpful on the bookshelf, though I usually use an online reference rather than a book.
and more specifically for MLA http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/
BOOK RAGS is interesting; you can see snippets of 'guides' to potential papers (or you can buy the actual guides) -- http://www.bookrags.com/
Very helpful would be a simple refresher - googling specific types of papers gives interesting results:
"How to write a literary criticism" http://www.42explore.com/litcrit.htm
(I've also had luck googling the particular poem I'm criticizing.)
Graduate level writing guidelines:
How to write a thesis: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/thesis_statement.shtml
Hope this helps a little.....Sorry I don't know of any specific books (most of my books are about creative writing, not academic writing.)