The Counterintuitive Writer
Joan Flaherty, University of Guelph

In this exciting new book, author Joan Flaherty outlines what she calls a “counterintuitive approach” to writing – one that turns some familiar assumptions on their heads, encouraging would-be writers to take “the path less traveled.”

The author first counsels writers to begin from a place of confidence, affirming that they have the discipline and creativity to tackle the challenging work of writing English prose. Later chapters show how to develop essay topics and overcome writer’s block by making use of innovative writing plans; how to structure essays and research papers effectively; and how to combine the virtues of predictable structure and unpredictable content in order to hold readers’ attention and make your point. Strategies for structuring essays and developing unpredictable content are presented in detail, as are tips on how to avoid common writing pitfalls such as errors in logic and unintentional plagiarism.

Special attention is paid to developing compelling introductions using helpful models that can be easily adapted to a variety of situations. Professor Flaherty also covers the basics of organizing the “body” of the essay as well as strategies for writing an effective conclusion. Concluding chapters provide a concise overview of key grammatical points and discuss not only how to “get” a good grade but encourage writers to reconsider what the concept of a good grade on an essay really means.


1. Establishing a Strong Foundation
2. Developing Your Topic
3. Structuring Your Paper
4. Developing Your Content
5. Avoiding the Common Pitfalls that Weaken Your Paper’s Content
6. Writing the Introduction
7. Writing All the Rest: Paragraphs, Conclusion, and Summary (or Abstract)
8. Editing
9. Grammar
10. How to “Get” a Good Grade

Joan Flaherty is an assistant professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Guelph. In 2014, she received the Bill Braithwaite MBA Distinguished Professorial Award from the College of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph, and she has also been recognized with the Faculty Association Professorial Teaching Award (2007) and a Faculty Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (2005). She is the author of numerous papers and presentations.

ISBN 978-1-77244-121-5

Paperback, 6” X 9”, 220 pages