We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

How Writing Works

A Guide to Composing Genres

Jordynn Jack and Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Publication Date - December 2014

ISBN: 9780199859856

768 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $84.99

How Writing Works teaches students 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.

Distinctive Features
* 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
* Supplements like the Companion Website, the Instructor's Manual, and the Annotated Instructor's Edition include a variety of resources for students and professors

About the Author(s)

Jordynn M. Jack is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Katie Rose Guest Pryal is Clinical Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.


"I am very impressed by the authors' innovative use of the 'genre toolkit.' It is rhetorically sophisticated, yet easy for students to implement. It is the best way that I have ever seen anyone explain to first-year students how to analyze a text and extrapolate from it the genre conventions it features. Well done!"--Rachelle M. Smith, Emporia State University

"Rather than simply introducing different genres to students, this book leads students to discover those genres."--Jun Zhao, Marshall University

Table of Contents

    Part 1. The Genre Toolkit
    1. Asking Questions
    A. What is a Genre?
    Frederick Douglass, "My Bondage and My Freedom"
    Abida Sultaan, Memoirs of a Rebel Princess (excerpt)
    Amy Tan, "Mother Tongue"
    B. "What is it?": Identify Shared Conventions
    C. "Who reads it?": Identify an Audience
    D. "What's it for?": Identify a Genre's Purpose
    E. Conclusion
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Literacy Narrative
    2. Discovering Rhetorical Situations
    A. Discovering Your Rhetorical Situation
    Aliyah's "Public Problem"
    Aliyah's "Observations"
    Lewis and Clark Journal (excerpt)
    B. Considering Your Purpose
    C. Identifying an Author's Role
    D. Analyzing an Audience's Needs
    E. Discovering Timing
    F. Conclusion
    G. Chapter Project: Write Journal Entries
    3. Writing New Genres
    A. Writing a New Genre
    Claire Zhang, "Amy Tan Phase" (excerpt)
    Louisa Rodriguez, "Identity in Context"
    Russell Johnson, "Identity in a Material World"
    B. Finding Examples
    C. Identifying Conventions
    D. Locating Options
    Foxxy, "The Way of a Cherokee"
    E. Conclusion
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Response Essay
    4. Developing a Writing Process
    A. Discovering Your Writing Process
    B. Composing a Personal Essay
    Maisha, "Two Worlds, One Great Nation"
    Mark, "I Believe in the Senses"
    C. Prewriting
    D. Drafting
    E. Revising
    F. Editing and Proofreading
    G. Publishing
    H. Conclusion
    I. Chapter Project: Write a Personal Essay
    Part 2. Projects
    5. Profiles
    A. Profile Mini-Genre: Social Network Profile
    B. Portfolio
    C. Program Profile
    D. Profile Article
    Shirley Hancock, "Oregon Ballet Theatre's Lucas Threefoot: Oregon Ballet Theatre's New Soloist Finds Comfort in Changing Roles"
    Jaime Shroeder, "Goals for Life"
    Stephanie Gottschlich, "The New Recruits: Students Answer the Call for Next Generation of Air Force Scientists"
    E. Strategies for Profiles
    Sarah Creek, "Profile of an Engineering Professor: Dr. Grace Yang"
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Profile Article
    6. Informative Genres
    A. Informative Mini-Genre: How-to Tip
    B. Tutorial
    Bon Appetit, "How To Roll out Pizza Dough"
    "Using Refworks"
    "Sweater Pillow Tutorial"
    C. Factsheet
    Greenpeace, "Genetic Engineering"
    Centers for Disease Control, "Shingles Factsheet"
    Youth at Work, "Your Job...Your Rights...Your Responsibilities!"
    D. Informative Article
    Melissa Nasiruddin, Monique Halabi, Alexander Dao, Kyle Chen, and Brandon Brown, "Zombies--A Pop Culture Resource for Public Health Awareness"
    Karla Rankoff, "Dental Anxiety in Children and What to Do About It"
    Asawin Suebsaeng, Deanna Pan, and Gavin Aronsen, "What Happened in the Newtown School Shooting: There's No Explaining Such A Horrific Act, But Here's Important Background Information"
    E. Strategies for Informative Genres
    F. Chapter Project: Write an Informative Article
    7. Inquiries
    A. Inquiry Mini-Genre: Student Class Notes
    Josephine Perry, "St. Augustine on Love"
    B. Blog Entry
    Brandy, "Disappointment: Rizzoli & Isles"
    Lucia Gonzalez Hernandez, "Straw-Man Fallacy and the 'Anti-Antiterror Left'"
    C. Reading Notes
    Mei Lin, "Aristotle, 'On Rhetoric'"
    Terrence B., "Notes on Pamela Lewis Reading"
    Michael M., "Elizabeth Barrett Browning Response: 'The Cry of the Children'"
    D. Observation Notes
    Zachary Fitzgerald, "Observation Notes of the Campus Courtyard"
    Belinda W., "Peer Classroom Observations: Sierra M."
    E. Strategies for Inquiries
    F. Chapter Project: Write Observation Notes
    8. Analyses
    A. Analysis Mini-Genre: Keyword Analysis
    B. Literary Analysis
    Morris Green, "Christopher Boone as an Unreliable Narrator"
    Ellen Chapman, "Women's Roles in Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam"
    Mark Washington, "Household Battles in 1616 as Shown in Anne Clifford's Diary"
    C. Scene Analysis
    Kerri Zuiker, "Brokeback Mountain Reunion Scene"
    Kevin Mikkelson, "Scene Analysis: Chinatown"
    Leo Cooper, "Mr Clean's Death and Use of Sound in Apocalypse Now"
    D. Rhetorical Analysis
    Cody M. Poplin, "Rhetorical Strategies and Effectiveness in the Declaration of Independence"
    Kelly Simpson, "Kairos, Violence, and The Hunger Games"
    Carlos Fernandez-Smith, "Appraising The Help: Ethos and Logos in Critical Accounts"
    E. Strategies for Analyses
    Association of Black Women Historians, "An Open Statement to the Fans of The Help" (excerpt)
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Rhetorical Analysis
    9. Reviews
    A. Review Mini-Genre: Online Product Review
    B. Film, Art, or Performance Review
    Jacob Clayton, "Contrast, Art, and Justice"
    Katie Fennelly, "Of Montreal's New Album: A Mix Of Weird Sounds and Intrigue"
    Nathan Cook, "Film Review: 'Epic'"
    C. Book Review
    Brian Braden, "Top Pick! Brian's 99 Cents: Review of The Quill Pen by Michelle Isenhoff"
    Risa Applegarth, "Review of The Changeover by Margaret Mahy"
    Adriana Morris, "Gertruda's Oath by Ram Oren and Habibi by Noami Shihab Nye: A Book Review Essay"
    D. Website Review
    Megan M., "Redesign Critiques"
    Hester Cho, "Healthcare.gov: Website Review"
    Jonas Webber, "Website Review of Ravelry.com"
    E. Strategies for Reviews
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Website Review
    10. Argumentative Genres
    A. Argument Mini-Genre: Print Advertisement
    B. Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor
    Nate Rushing, "UF's meatless Mondays are Ridiculous"
    Amelia Jensen, Letter to the Editor
    Rini Sampath, "Insults Against Disabled People Must Be Eradicated"
    C. Candidate Speech
    Barack Obama, Speech at Springfield, IL, in 2007
    Madison Peace, "Student Body President Speech"
    Michael R. Bloomberg, Victory Speech 2009
    D. Satire
    Pia DiGiulio, "Uncontrolled Study Orgies Break Out in Gender-Neutral Dorm"
    Dr. Jonathan Swift, " A Modest Proposal: For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick"
    The Onion, "Professor Deeply Hurt by Student's Evaluation"
    E. Strategies for Argumentative Genres
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Satire
    11. Academic Research Genres
    A. Academic Research Mini-Genre: Abstract
    M Navarrete, G Perea, D Fernandez de Sevilla, M Gómez-Gonzalo, A Núñez, et al., "Astrocytes Mediate In Vivo Cholinergic-Induced Synaptic Plasticity."
    Mike Duncan, "Polemical Ambiguity and the Composite Audience: Bush's 20 September 2001 Speech to Congress and the Epistle of 1 John"
    Jessica Ross, "Closing Guantanamo Bay: The Future of Detainees"
    B. Annotated Bibliography
    Chris Clayman, "Annotated Bibliography"
    Lisa Garmire, "Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of American AIDS Novels, 1982-1992"
    C. Literature Review
    Kirby Diamaduros, "Tropical Rainforest Deforestation: Effects, Mitigation, and Solutions"
    Marleen H van den Berg, PhD, Johannes W Schoones, BA, and Theodora PM Vliet Vlieland, MD, PhD, " Internet-Based Physical Activity Interventions: A Systematic Review of the Literature"
    Agustín Fuentes, "Get over It: Men and Women Are from the Same Planet"
    D. Research Paper
    Kristine Thompson, " Wait, You Stormed Franklin Street? The Social and Psychological Motivations of UNC Sports Fans"
    Rick Ingram, "Gender Discrimination and the Movement towards Equality in the Workforce"
    Penelope Edwards, "Purity and Corruption: Reading Harriet Jacobs Through the Lens of the Bathsheba Tale"
    E. Strategies for Academic Research Genres
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Research Paper
    12. Workplace Genres
    A. Workplace Mini-Genre: Company Slogan
    B. Email
    Joe Smith, "Reference Request"
    Maria B. Hernandez, "Agenda for Biology Majors Club Meeting"
    Editorial Staff of Undergraduate Research Journal, "Journal decision declining to publish your article"
    C. Business Letter
    Jessica Wang, Cover Letter
    Gerry A. Sampson, Acceptance Letter
    Joe A. Smith, Thank You Letter
    D. Résumé
    Jaelyn Garcia Johnson, Résumé
    Jonathan Marcus Stone, Résumé
    Phillip T. Beckett, Résumé
    E. Strategies for Résumés
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Résumé
    13. Proposals
    A. Proposal Mini-Genre: Elevator Pitch
    B. T.V., Book, or Film Pitch
    T.V. pitch: "Mixed in America"
    Book pitch: "Rules of Entanglement"
    Film pitch: "Pushover"
    C. Student Proposal
    Victor Egbukichi, Student Event proposal
    Leticia Garcia Rodriguez, Student Organization Proposal
    Tyler Williamson, Independent Study Proposal
    D. Grant Proposal
    Vincent Abiona, "Technology Education in Nigerian Hospitals"
    Janelle Markham, "Closing the Gap in Dental Care: Dental Anxiety in Children in Bertie County"
    Grace McDermott, "Nutritional Access and Awareness for the Children of Burmese Migrant Workers in Mae Sot, Thailand"
    E. Strategies for Proposals
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Research or Grant Proposal
    14. Reports
    A. Report Mini-Genre: Social Networking Status Update
    B. News Report
    Chris Eckard, "Men's Basketball Stoglin Named Second-Term All-ACC"
    Daniel Wheaton, "UNL Psychology Study Find College-Aged Men Struggle With Image, Objectification"
    Esteban Cortez, "Grad Student Explores African-American Culture in Art"
    C. Progress Report
    Marshall McLaughlin, "Update on my poetry collection"
    Mary Wu, "Progress on War on Terror research"
    Lily Pearson, John Chao, Carolyn Wax, Anita Simmons, "Student Health Gets Real: Student Opinions of Student Health Services Progress Report"
    D. Recommendation Report
    National Transportation Safety Board, "Safety Report: Reaching Zero: Actions to Eliminate Alcohol-Impaired Driving"
    Bradley J. Kinnison, "The Health Risks and Cost Effectiveness of Chlorine as a Pool Water Sanitizer"
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)"
    E. Strategies for Reports
    F. Chapter Project: Write a Report
    Part 3. Writing Process
    15. Developing a Topic
    A. Genre Toolkit: What Are You Writing?
    B. Browse for Topics
    C. Narrow Topics with Initial Research
    16. Prewriting
    A. Freewriting
    B. Question-Dialogue
    C. Audio-Brainstorming
    D. Concept-Mapping
    17. Drafting
    A. Try Out Different Drafting Strategies
    B. Digital Composing: Find Tools that Work for You
    C. Writing Collaboratively
    18. Generating Arguments
    A. What is an Argument?
    B. Examining the Topic
    C. Researching Arguments
    D. Developing a Thesis (or Claim)
    E. Finding Good Reasons
    F. Locating Evidence through Research
    G. Rhetorical Appeals: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
    H. Addressing Counter-Arguments
    I. Arguing Ethically: Avoiding Fallacies
    19. Using Rhetorical Modes
    A. What Happened? Narration
    B. What Is It Like? Description
    C. What Is It? Definition
    D. What Kind Is It? Classification
    E. How Is It Similar/Different? Comparison/Contrast
    F. What Causes It? What Are Its Effects? Cause/Effect
    20. Organization
    A. Discovering Organization through Genre
    B. Outlining Before Writing
    C. Using Outlines as You Write
    D. Paragraphing
    E. Ordering Sections or Topics
    F. Introductions
    G. Conclusions
    21. Developing Style
    A. Matching Style to Genre, Audience and Purpose
    Maya Schenwar, "The Prison System Welcomes My Newborn Niece to This World"
    Ann Booker Loper and Elena Hontoria Tuerk, "Improving the Emotional Adjustment and Communication Patterns of Incarcerated Mothers: Effectiveness of a Prison Parenting Intervention"
    Ashley McAlarney, "Access for All: Federal Funding and Regulation of For-Profit Higher Education"
    B. Choosing a Persona
    C. Choosing Tone
    D. Making Vocabulary Choices
    E. Choosing a Level of Formality
    F. Using Rhetorical Figures
    G. Tips for Developing Style
    22. Polishing It Up
    A. Revising
    B. Self-Editing: Creating Fresh Eyes
    C. Conducting Peer Review
    Part 4. Research
    23. Getting Started with Research
    A. Considering Your Genre
    B. Finding a Good Research Topic
    C. Identifying a Gap
    D. Developing a Research Question
    E. Developing a Research Plan
    F. Generating Search Terms
    24. Conducting Research
    A. Conducting Empirical Research
    --Kristine Thompson, "Study: The Social and Psychological Motivations of UNC Sports Fans"
    B. Conducting Database Research
    C. Managing Database Research
    25. Evaluating Sources
    A. Identifying Credible Sources
    B. Finding Authoritative Sources for Your Field
    C. Finding Authoritative Sources for Your Genre
    26. Integrating Sources
    A. Using Sources Strategically
    Ray M. Marín and Jirí Vanícek, "Optimal Use of Conservation and Accessibility Filters in MicroRNA Target Prediction"
    Shulman, J. L., Gotta, G., & Green, R., "Will Marriage Matter? Effects of Marriage Anticipated by Same-Sex Couples"
    B. Integrating Sources into Your Work
    C. Summarizing
    D. Paraphrasing
    E. Quoting
    27. Avoiding Plagiarism
    A. What Is Plagiarism
    B. Types of Plagiarism
    C. Keeping Track of Sources
    28. Citing Sources
    A. When to Cite
    B. Discovering Citation Styles: MLA and APA
    C. Discovering Citation Guides for Other Styles
    D. MLA Citation Guide
    E. Formatting a Paper in MLA Style
    Jay Zhang, "McDonald's Limited Response to Increased Health Consciousness"
    F. APA Citation Guide
    G. Formatting a Paper in APA Style
    Terrence Bogans, "Being Mommy Behind Bars: The Psychological Benefits of Child Visitation with Incarcerated Mothers"
    Part 5. Presentation
    29. Choosing Visual Elements, Layout, and Design
    A. Matching Design to Genre
    -- Centers for Disease Control, "HIV Among Women"
    -- American Public Health Association, "Are You Ready?"
    B. Matching Design to Audience, Purpose, and Situation
    C. Putting Things in Place: Layout
    D. Types of Visual Elements
    E. Principles for Visual Elements
    F. Using Electronic Tools
    30. Getting It Out There
    A. Delivering Oral Presentations
    B. Developing Multimedia Presentations
    C. Creating a Portfolio
    D. Submitting Your Work for Publication
    E. Self-publishing Your Work
    S1. How Verbs Work
    A. What is a verb?
    B. Common Problems
    S2. How Nouns and Pronouns Work
    A. What is a Noun?
    B. What is a Pronoun?
    C. Common Problems
    S3. How Modifiers Work
    A. What is a Modifier?
    B. Common Problems
    S4. How Sentences Work
    A. What is a Sentence?
    B. Common Problems
    S5. How Punctuation Works
    A. What is Punctuation?
    B. Common Problems
    S6. How Usage Conventions Work
    A. What are Usage Conventions?
    B. Common Problems

Related Titles