How to Use How Writing Works

How Writing Works takes a new approach to genre pedagogy. The tools and projects included in this three-chapter sampler have been excerpted from How Writing Works, a forthcoming genre-based rhetoric in development with Oxford University Press.

Step 1

Read Chapter 1, Apply The Genre Toolkit

How Writing Works begins with The Genre Toolkit, a flexible set of strategies that you can apply to any writing situation. Instead of a descriptive or prescriptive approach, the authors use a discovery approach. The toolkit helps you identify a genre’s structure, purpose, content, style, and audience.

By practicing the toolkit, you will develop useful problem-solving habits —identifying what genre to use, how that genre works, and how to use that genre to meet your rhetorical goals.

At the core of the toolkit are three simple questions:

  • “What is it?”

  • “Who reads it?”

  • “What’s it for?”

These three questions will guide you through the project chapters that follow and any writing project you encounter.

Step 2

Complete a Project Chapter

Make genres work for you in any specific rhetorical situation.

The second part of How Writing Works, the “Project” chapters, include traditional academic genres that you are likely to encounter in your academic career, such as analyses, essays, and research papers. The projects in How Writing Works also include genres drawn from different professions and community situations, such as fact sheets, program profiles, and business letters.

Chapter 6: Informative Genres and Chapter 8: Analyses found in this sampler are project chapters and focus on a genre “family”, as will each project chapter in the book. Grouping these genres together shows you how the individual genres share a fundamental purpose—even as the in­dividual genres may differ in content, form, and audience. You will find:

Student and Professional Examples in every project chapter placing the examples side-by-side for comparison.

Individual, Team, and Multimedia Projects will help you tackle writing projects independently or collaboratively, and how to address rhetorical challenges of visual, aural, and oral communication.

Integrated Assignments help you construct a series of small assignments that build to a major chapter project.

Step 3

Tell us what you think!

If you are an instructor class testing this approach or if you’re reviewing this sample as a book advisor, we’d like to hear from you. Please complete the OUP survey sent to you with this sample and share your opinions with us. We’re seeking feedback from you and your students!

Are you interested in trying additional projects? Spark new classroom discussions with our mini-genres — we’ll introduce a new one each month on Mini-genres offer a quick and effective way to introduce students to larger writing concepts like genre, rhetoric, and process.