A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Guide for Authors

Invitation to Contribute

The editorial staff of Writing Commons invites the submission of articles intending to help college students improve their writing, research, and critical thinking. We conceive our site as a creative space in which we enable writers to develop and share open-education resources; our site is open and free, and, subsequently, its content is constantly in flux.

We are concerned primarily with providing students with a comprehensive resource containing examples and explanations (in textual and multimedia forms, among others) that apply to the writing practices required of them in nearly all writing contexts: academic, professional, technical, and business.

Webtexts Needed

For this interdisciplinary project, we seek articles from a variety of fields (academic, professional, technical, and business writing, among others). While Writing Commons is open to all submissions and prides itself on innovation, we have specific needs for articles in the following subjects: poetry, creative writing, technical writing, and new media genres. Please note that while published articles will ultimately be turned into webtexts, submissions should be sent to Cassandra Branham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as Word docs or docxs. We are able to accommodate most document designs and encourage innovative approaches to layout; if you have any questions about design issues, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Before beginning your project, you may want to send a brief proposal to Cassandra Branham (at the above address) to confirm that your idea matches our needs. Submission to Writing Commons is a dialogic process, and we encourage authors to collaborate closely with our editors when revising and rethinking the submission after the initial draft has been accepted or accepted with revisions. Writing Commons values accessibility, innovation, and the use of multi-media forms.

Audience

The readership for your article/submission includes undergraduate students in writing courses. To address such an audience, avoid difficult theories or complex discussions of research and issues or detailed discussions of pedagogy; rather, consider the interests and perspectives of students, with various levels of expertise, working through college-level writing projects. Brief references to outside sources may be helpful but for the purposes of exposition to an undergraduate audience.

For instance, many Writing Commons publications will introduce a rhetorical concept or term, briefly define it, and then explain how it could be applied to the everyday writing of undergraduates or writing in a professional or personal sphere. Feel free to include exercises and/or discussion questions which could be used by teachers or students in the classroom.

Length

The typical Writing Commons submission will be approximately 750 to 1,000 words long, although longer webtexts may be submitted. For longer pieces, the use of headings within the piece is highly encouraged.

Images and Videos

Writing Commons emphasizes multimodal learning and thus encourages contributors to include images and/or videos within their submissions. If an image was not produced by the author, the image must be Creative Commons-licensed or within the public domain. Since Writing Commons is not a commercial endeavor, you may include images that are designated for non-commercial purposes. The citation style used by Writing Commons for Creative Commons-licensed images is as follows:

Last name, First name (if provided), "Image Title (hyperlink to image)" date photo was uploaded via Flickr (or other website). Creative Commons Attribution (licensing information).

For example: 

Prodoehl, Pete, "Phone" November 30, 2008 via Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

If an image is within the public domain, it should be cited accordingly. For example:

Ball, Charles, "The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857" via Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain Image (PD-1923).

For more information about public domain images and the proper licensing information, see this resource.

The placement of images may be designated by the contributor directly embedding images within the text or by noting the placement of images using comment bubbles. In either case, the contributor should attach the images to the email including the submission as separate jpeg files. For videos, please provide an embed code in a comment bubble in the Word doc that designates where the video should go within the text.

Hyperlinks to External Sites

We welcome and encourage the inclusion of links to external webtexts; however, we ask that you use them rhetorically.

Documentation Style

All articles should be documented according to the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (Current ed.).

Submissions

  • should be otherwise free of internal references to the author’s identity*
  • should include a brief byline of the author/s

Your submission should include the following documents:

  • Cover Letter: A very brief cover letter introducing your webtext and its title; you might use this letter to voice any concerns/questions you have about the text.
  • Webtext: Please e-mail your submission as a Word doc or docx attachment.
  • Byline and Info: Attach your byline in a separate document. Your byline might include your name, institution, research interests, and selected publications. Bylines should be about 50 words long. Also, please provide your preferred e-mail address, phone number (with area code), and mailing address.

When your webtext is accepted for publication, you will then need to sign a Creative Commons Copyright Form and return it to Cassandra Branham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please use the following format when saving these Word files:

  • Last Name, First Name. "Cover Letter"
  • Last Name, First Name. “Title of Webtext”
  • Last Name, First Name. “Byline”

If you are submitting podcasts, videos, or composing a multi-page hyperlinked text (which we strongly encourage), please e-mail Cassandra Branham (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) directly for specific directions.

Submit manuscripts, cover letters and bylines to Cassandra Branham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Review

Because webtexts are more concise than traditional academic essays, we intend to have a quick turn-around time, from initial submission to notification of the submission’s status, please allow approximately four weeks.

*Articles will be read blind by outside reviewers, so please make sure that your name does not appear on the title page or first page and that you do not identify yourself in the text or in the list of works cited. Please include your address, phone number, and e-mail address with all submissions.

Call for Articles: Creative Writing

Invitation to Contribute

Award-winning Writing Commons, a global, peer-reviewed, open-education resource for college students invites the submission of creative writing articles intending to help college students to understand the concepts of creative writing and to improve their writing practice.

Audience  

The readership for your article/submission includes undergraduate students in creative writing courses. To address such an audience, avoid difficult theories or complex discussions of research and issues or detailed discussions of pedagogy; rather, consider the interests and perspectives of students, with various levels of expertise, working through college-level creative writing projects.

Length

The typical Writing Commons submission will be approximately 750 to 1,000 words long, although longer webtexts may be submitted. For longer pieces, the use of headings within the piece is highly encouraged.

Submissions

Please email submissions to Quentin Vieregge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as a doc or docx. Authors should include a brief byline and email. Any included citations should follow the current edition of The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. The incorporation of multimedia components is also encouraged (e.g., images, hyperlinks). For more details, see our guide for authors.

Review

Because webtexts are more concise than traditional academic essays, we intend to have a quick turn-around time; from initial submission to notification of the submission’s status, please allow approximately four weeks.

Submission Topics

Fiction

  • Writing Fiction – an overview
  • Point of view
  • Concrete vivid details/images
  • A story’s arc
  • Voice
  • Conflict
  • Setting
  • Tone and style
  • Characterization
  • What your character wants
  • Dialogue
  • Tension
  • Scenes and summary
  • Flashbacks (and flashforwards)
  • Metaphor and analogy
  • Beginning and endings
  • Flash fiction
  • The long story

 

Nonfiction

  • Writing creative nonfiction – an overview – by Ira Sukrungruang
  • Creative nonfiction forms
    • Memoir
    • Personal essay
    • Travel narrative
    • Nature essay
    • Scientific writing
    • Literary journalism
  • The tenets of narrative
    • Voice
    • Setting
    • What your character wants
    • What your narrator wants
    • Dialogue
    • Writing exposition and the retrospective voice
    • Considering the double “I”

 

Poetry

  • Writing poetry – an overview
  • Where do poems originate?
  • The major forms of poetry
    • Acrostic
    • Ballad
    • Cinquain
    • Clerihew
    • Diamante
    • Didactic
    • Free verse
    • Ghazal
    • Haiku
    • Limerick
    • Sestina
    • Sonnet
    • Villanelle
  • Creating images
  • Lines and stanzas
  • Meter and rhythm
  • Sounds of language
  • Metaphor

 

Playwriting

  • Writing Plays – an overview – by Mark E. Leib
  • Action and plot
  • Characterization
  • Dialogue
  • Concept
  • Stage directions

 

Screenwriting

  • Writing films – an overview – by Mark E. Leib
  • Action and plot
  • Characterizations
  • Dialogue
  • Format
  • Description

 

Digital Creative Writing

  • Considering Digital Writing – an overview
  • Other topics are open for consideration

 

While we welcome submissions covering all aspects of writing, we are especially in need of content focused on information literacy. Submission should be between 500 and 1,000 words and should take advantage of the capabilities offered by the digital space (i.e., the ability to include Creative Commons-licensed images, to embed YouTube links or other media, to hyperlink, etc).

Topics may address:

  • What is information literacy? (an introduction to the concept)
  • Determining what information you need
    • Understanding the place of place of resources like Wikipedia  in the research process
  • Distinguishing between different types of sources (i.e., an edited collection, a book, a journal article, etc.)
  • Understanding the connection between writing and research
  • Citation Mining
  • Avoiding plagiarism and citing correctly
    • Formatting according to Chicago style
    • Formatting according to Harvard style
Submissions should be sent as Word docs to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
If images are used, please attach them to the same email as seperate files (perferaly jpegs), indicating their placement within the text file. Citation should follow the current edition of the MLA Handbook. For more formatting and style, please see the "Guide for Authors."
 
 

Call for First-Year Composition Articles

Writing Commons, a peer-reviewed, online resource for writers, invites submissions for publication. Writing Commons is an open-education resource for undergraduate students. While we welcome all submissions, we currently have a special call for first-year composition webtexts, especially for articles on these topics:

 

  • Remediation
    • Various articles: the process of remediating a text, how medium affects the message, constructing a remediation generates research questions related to the original text, how to reflect on rhetorical choices made during the remediation process, etc.
  • Theses
      Constructing a classical argumentative thesis, constructing a thesis for a Rogerian argument essay, how to more effectively focus an essay, etc.
  • "New Media Writing" (introduction)
    • Provide an overview of various forms of "new media writing," including blogging, tweeting, social networking, posting to discussion boards, and creating fan fiction. Discuss the unique opportunities that new media writing provides for composers.
  • "Podcasts"
    • Explore podcasts as texts. You might approach the article as an instruction guide for creating podcasts using Audacity or another program, or you might discuss composition strategies when creating podcasts -- the ability to combine music with words and how that influences a text, etc.)
  • "YouTube Videos"
    • Discuss the phenomenon of YouTube, including the potential it offers for composing visual texts.
  • "Identifying an Argument"
    • Explain how to locate an author's central claim (thesis).
  • “Writing in Narrative Style”
    • Explain to students how to write an essay in narrative form, telling a story in a succinct but engaging manner.
  • Various Articles on Historiography
    • Articles are encouraged that deal with writing about history, interpreting historical texts, identifying biases, considering context of pieces, etc.
  • “Seeing ‘History’ as an Evolving Process”
    • Explain to students that the term “history” is not synonymous with the term “fact.” Explain how history may incorporate factual information, but note how “history” is an interpretation of such factual information and make take into consideration issues like gender, race, political differences, etc. Providing an example of different “histories” about the same focused topic and noting why they differ is especially encouraged.
  • “Determining an Audience”
    • Explain to students how to determine their audience when constructing a remediation. Showing students how to move from a broader audience (i.e., “Americans”) to a more focused audience (i.e., “middle-class American consumers”) is especially encouraged. Provide a checklist of factors to consider at the end of the piece.
  • “Checklist for Tracing Claims throughout a Paper”
    • Provide a checklist that students may use to determine whether they’ve successfully carried their thesis throughout the paper via their claims and whether all the claims support their thesis.

 

Please email submissions to Jennifer Yirinec at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Quentin Vieregge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as a doc or docx file.. Please note that the incorporation of multimedia components is highly encouraged. Citations should follow the current edition of The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

For more details, see our guide for authors.

Call for Webtexts: Creative Approaches to Style and Grammar

 

Writing teachers have been talking about style forever, yet the errors keep rolling in. What's the deal? Isn't the medium the message? Here at Writing Commons, we're interested in ways new media can be used to revisit a vital but persistent problem—style. We ask that you creatively address (using multimedia components or through unique activities) a principle/topic from the list below:

  • Grammar
    • Subject/verb agreement
    • Pronoun-antecedent relationships
    • Comma splices
    • Misplaced modifiers
    • Dangling modifiers
    • Run-on sentences
    • Sentence fragments
    • Shifts in verb tense
  • Point of view
    • First-person point of view
    • Second-person point of view
    • Third-person point of view
    • Unnecessary shifts in point of view
  • Punctuation
    • Quotation mark usage
    • Hyphen usage
    • End punctuation usage
  • Sentence construction
    • Varying sentence structure
    • Parallel structure
    • Avoiding primer-style sentences
  • Spelling and capitalization
    • Checking spelling and meaning
    • Homonyms
    • Capitalization rules
  • Word choice
    • Appropriateness in word choice
    • Eliminating unnecessary words
    • Using concrete, sensory language 
    • Using language that is sensitive to the target audience
    • Using appropriate academic language
  • Word order
    • Rephrasing awkward word order

 

Submissions should be emailed as an attachment to Jennifer Yirinec at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Quentin Vieregge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more details, please see our guide for authors.



Call for Articles: Professional and Technical Writing

Teachers, researchers, and practitioners in professional and technical writing have developed and are privy to effective strategies for writing in and with a multitude of genres and technologies, respectively. These strategies can range anywhere from knowing the conventions of composing professional memos to understanding the principles behind designing clear instructions to gaining the technical expertise required to experiment with new writing applications.

The professional and technical writing branch of Writing Commons thus asks potential contributors the following question: How can we help students and technical and professional writers to better understand these situations and genres of writing as skills and strategies for productive participation and critique of workplace communications?

In light of this question, we seek submissions for web-based articles addressing the following topics (not an exhaustive list):

  • Formatting with graphics
  • Memos
  • Résumés (e.g., online, scannable, paper)
  • Scientific and/or lab reports
  • Posters (e.g., conference)
  • Presentation materials and technologies (e.g., PowerPoint, Prezi)
  • Instructions/manuals
  • Usability/User experience/personas
  • Document organization
  • Object (mechanism) descriptions
  • Proposals
  • Audience analysis
  • Grant writing

Writing Commons seeks submissions that approach these topics from the perspective of the “best strategies” for understanding an individual task in reflective and productive ways.

Submissions should be composed in a Word file, with links embedded directly in the document. Images, video, and/or other multimedia should be attached separate from the text document but as part of the same email. Submissions for Professional and Technical Writing can be sent to Senior Editor Dr. Daniel Richards at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Unsolicited submissions not addressing the above topics are discouraged.

Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Richards with any questions about the submission process or Writing Commons itself.