Rhetoric at Fault in Writing Crisis in US Public Schools, Claims Author of 'Secret DNA' E-Book on Writing

There’s a crisis in US public school writing because Rhetoric emphasizes parts, not the whole, says author Bill Drew. Instead of paying attention to Rhetoric, modern writing teachers should have paid attention to Michel de Montaigne, the Father of the Essay.

Provo, UT – January 14, 2010 (PressReleasePivot) — Bill Drew, author of a successful new e-book on writing, ‘The Secret DNA of Writing Essays – And Everything Else’, claims Rhetoric has caused the writing crisis in US public schools. Isn’t that a rather harsh indictment of Rhetoric? “Not really,” said Drew. “What’s the dominant emphasis in teaching essay writing in public schools? Introductions, thesis statements, topic sentences, paragraphs, conclusions – all of those came straight out of Rhetoric. And those are just forms, not content. What if a writer did all those forms right, but the audience had already read the content, the ideas, before? The forms wouldn’t help.”

But forms are necessary, aren’t they? “Yes, you have to have familiar forms to convey new content and new ideas. But Rhetoric doesn’t show you how to create new content.” What about the Topics, the Commonplaces of Rhetoric? “Note that name, ‘Commonplaces’, which means things already shared and already common. Nothing new there, is there?”

So your e-book, ‘The Secret DNA of Writing Essays – And Everything Else’, teaches content but not form? “No, that’s not right. My book teaches BOTH content and form. You see, teaching only the forms of Rhetoric is a little like that famous picture of the six blind men: each blind man feels only a part of the elephant and tries to imagine what the whole is like. In the case of teaching students how to write essays with Rhetoric, teachers make students focus on the parts of an essay without helping them relate to the whole message of the essay, to ‘What’s new to the reader’. I used to do that, too, until I discovered that the OldView – NewView relationship is the whole message – the whole elephant, if you will – in whatever you write, including essays.”

Your focus on the whole instead of the parts sounds very unscientific, Mr. Drew. “On the contrary. For instance, in the 1970s, Physics Professor David Bohm said, ‘We must turn physics around. Instead of starting with parts and showing how they work together, we start with the whole.’ Science has been focusing on the whole first for some time now. Parts are relevant only as they relate to the whole. And the whole in writing is, ‘What’s new to the reader’. Cognitive psychology and linguistics have been moving toward newness and the whole message for some time, now. Writing teachers just haven’t caught on yet.”

How do you think this emphasis mainly on parts happened in writing, anyway? “It started over 2,000 years ago in ancient Greece with the ‘parts emphasis’ in Rhetoric, talking about parts, parts, parts. To be fair, Rhetoric does mention in passing that you have to keep your purpose in mind of persuading your audience, but Rhetoric doesn’t get at all specific about how to do that. It’s simply posturing, really.

“Instead of paying attention to Rhetoric, modern writing teachers should have paid attention to Michel de Montaigne, the Father of the Essay. In the first book ever on essays, Montaigne used the OldView – NewView technique. In each essay, he starts talking about some virtue such as loyalty, mentions what society thinks of it, and then he says, ‘and yet’, which introduces his NewView, which often is a NewView Reverse of society’s view. That was over four hundred years ago, and nobody seems to have noticed but me. If anyone has noticed, it hasn’t made it into the writing textbooks.”

“My company, NewView Options, is trying to turn that around with my new e-book, which is selling well on Amazon.com, and our new computer program to help students create NewView Thesis statements from their own experiences.”

Drew reports that students, teachers, and businessmen have endorsed his book. His company, NewView Options, provides several testimonials on their website, at http://bit.ly/SecretDNAPraises.

Drew’s e-book, ‘The Secret DNA of Writing Essays – And Everything Else,’ is available now online at http://bit.ly/BuySecretDNABook for $8.50. It is also available on Amazon.com as a Kindle e-book for $9.50 (several positive reviews there). The companion software, NewView Essay Services, which automates the thesis-making process in the e-book, is available at http://bit.ly/SecretDNASoftware on a subscription basis for 3-, 6-, and 12-month terms ($10.50, $15.50, $20.50).

About NewView Options:
Founded in 2008, NewView Options is a Provo, UT, firm specializing in the teaching and training of writing, for both beginners and the more advanced. The company is focused on promoting its propriety NewView approach to writing, communications, and teaching. NewView Options provides Education Discount rates for school districts. Call 1-801-373-0447, visit http://secretdnaofwritingessays.com/, or e-mail billdrew@richcontent.com.

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