Arthur Plotnik, Author
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Arthur Plotnik is a versatile author with a distinguished background in editing and publishing.

Of his nine books, two have been featured selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club:

--The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts Into Words
 (Holt, B&N), now in a new and expanded edition from Viva Editions,  and

--The Elements of Editing
,  (Macmillan-/Longman), a popular guide through more than twenty printings.

Reviewers have consistently praised Plotnik's writing for its accuracy, style, and wit, often ranking it with Strunk & White in practicality.

His Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold. Contemporary Style (Random House, 2007) is among the best-selling recent titles on language and writing. Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate, called it "A must for every writer's desk." Lauded by Booklist, Library Journal, and many others, it's also available in e-book editions, including Amazon Kindle and Sony. 

Plotnik's 2011 opus, Better than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives (Viva Editions), offers 5,700 alternatives to such worn-out terms as "great," "awesome" and "amazing," along with commentary on their use. The venerable London publisher Souvenir Press published a UK edition in July 2012. (See "News and Notes")  

A passionate observer of trees, Plotnik is author of The Urban Tree Book:  An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town (Crown/Random House, 2000), illustrated by his wife, the artist Mary Phelan, and dubbed "indispensable" by The New York Times

As a publisher, Plotnik brought five national awards (1993-1997) to the American Library Association’s book imprint. He won numerous honors also as editor of ALA’s flagship magazine, American Libraries.

Plotnik has written scores of magazine articles and columns,  short fiction, poetry, eight nonfiction books, and numerous (pseudonymous) paperback novels. He has appeared in publications ranging from La Prensa (Bolivia) to The New York Times, contributing also to Britannica Book of English Usage and the "American English" column of American Way in-flight magazine.  His many columns for and Board service on The Writer magazine solidified his standing as a writing advisor.
For more animated information and features on this site, go to
Biography, Published Works, Selections and Samples (with updated literary bibliography) or News, Notes, Surprises 


Plotnik shined, spieled, and squirmed on these TV/radio appearances (with apologies if some of the links have perished): 

Four-minute segment with Art Plotnik on WGN-TV (Channel 9, Chicago)Midday News, 6/24/11. (No longer archived.)

Art's 10-minute segment on the NPR affiliate show, "Here and Now," with host Robin Young. Just click on the "Listen" button.

Katherine Dunn show, Wisconsin Public radio, with Veronica Reukel. Interview with call-ins, June 7, 2011.

Interview on "Writers on Writing," Barbara Demarco-Barrett, host, Oct. 31, 2012, KUCI-FM, on iTunes College Radio; podcasts at

Interview with guest host Jessica Page Morrell on "Susan Rich Talks, " Oct. 8,  8 am PT/11 am ET, on All Women’s Radio, Schuetz, co-host.

A conversation on the Jon Rappoport Show, July 6,  Progressive Radio Network.

Scott Cluthe talks with with Arthur Plotnik on "Positively Incorrect" radio, May 26, 2011.


NEW: Looking for an editor/writing coach?  See bottom of "News, Notes, and Surprises" page.

Arthur Plotnik. He's a freaking genius-god in the writing world."   ---Jessica Page Morrell, author, on PowellsBooks.Blog 

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