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How Writing Works

A Guide to Composing Genres

Second Edition

Author Jordynn Jack and Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Publication Date - 12 April 2022

ISBN: 9780197619162

496 pages
7 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Helps students learn the transferable skills that they'll need to tackle any writing situation that they encounter--at school, at work, in their communities, or at home


College students are expected to master new genres in every course they take. Yet composition instructors can't possibly teach students every genre they will need for their college courses or careers. Instead of telling students how to write a genre, authors Jack and Pryal help students learn how a genre works using a genre toolkit that asks three questions: "What is it?" "Who reads it?" and "What's it for?" By taking this problem-solving approach to writing, How Writing Works prepares students for any writing situation that they may encounter at school, home, or work.

New to this Edition

  • Each element of the Genre Toolkit now has its own chapter in Part 1
  • Contains fewer project chapters to include the greatest hits. Each project chapter has been reduced from four genres to three coordinated examples that lead up to a chapter project.
  • A simplified design provides a more open appearance, with shorter paragraphs, more headings, and more visual content to break up the writing
  • Each chapter now includes learning objectives in the introduction and a recap of those objectives in the conclusion, providing students a clear idea of what they will be learning
  • Includes even more voices from a wide range of writers
  • More examples of exercises, sample readings, and advice on collaborative writing and multimedia composition


  • The Genre Toolkit helps students identify a genre's structure, audience, and purpose
  • Integrated Assignments show students how to construct a series of small assignments that lead up to a major chapter project
  • Individual, Team, and Multimedia Projects draw from a variety of popular, professional, and academic examples to address rhetorical challenges of visual, written, and oral communication

About the Author(s)

Jordynn Jack, Ph.D., is Chi Omega Distinguished Term Professor in English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Katie Rose Guest Pryal, J.D., Ph.D., is a writer and keynote speaker, an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an Instructor in the Creative Writing Program at Drexel University.


"How Writing Works shows the process of writing through a variety of tools, projects, and sample readings. The idea of a toolkit is a powerful visual metaphor that helps students better understand the process of writing."--Paul Patterson, Saint Joseph's University

"The variety of genres is the strongest feature of How Writing Works as it allows me significant space to adapt my course writing to specific cohorts and within thematic spaces. Another strength is the variety of exercises and projects that incorporate digital writing and multi-media components. The prompts open productive discussions and brainstorming sessions with students."--Corey Dosch, South Puget Sound Community College

"How Writing Works is a timely and relevant text with an excellent breadth of examples. It is well-designed, focuses on beginning composition students' exploration of the writing process, and supports the writing instructor with excellent resources. I like the variety and flexibility it offers to the instructor."--Michael Johnson, Muskegon Community College

Table of Contents

    Part 1 : The Genre Toolkit

    1. What Is It?
    2. Who Reads It?
    3. What's It For?

    Part 2: Projects

    4. Profiles
    5. Analyses
    6. Reviews
    7. Argumentative Genres
    8. Academic Research Genres
    9. Workplace Genres

    Part 3: Writing Process

    10. Creating a Writing Process
    11. Developing a Topic
    12. Prewriting
    13. Drafting
    14. Generating Arguments
    15. Organizing
    16. Developing Style
    17. Revising and Editing

    Part 4: Research

    18. Getting Started with Research
    19. Conducting Database Research
    20. Conducting Empirical Research
    21. Avoiding Plagiarism
    22. Integrating Sources
    23. Citing Sources

    Part 5: Making It Public

    24. Designing Your Project
    25. Publishing and Presenting

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