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

Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley

Founder
WritingCommons.org

Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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Understand the fundamentals of page and Web design; use visual language to convey meaning; use design to assert authority and organize work for readers.

Writers use critical questions to find cracks and crannies, places where they need to develop or clarify their thinking. In their relentless pursuit of clearly expressed, well-developed ideas, they find soft spots—that is, passages that need to be developed or discarded and sections that just don't feel right—that feel mushy like cereal that has been sitting for too long in sour milk. They ruthlessly ask "So what?" and "Who cares?" and reexamine their work, because they know reconsidering a line or a metaphor or even a word may give birth to a new idea or to reconsideration of what has been written. Below provides many questions you can use to interrogate your writing or your peers' writing.

  • What is my thesis? Have I expressed it, either explicitly or implicitly?
  • Will readers understand my reasons for writing? Have I provided the specific examples, concrete language, careful reasoning, and supporting evidence that they need in order to understand my position?
  • Can I make my manuscript more enjoyable to read by incorporating more images and metaphors, by offering more creative examples?
  • Have I provided enough background information for readers to understand my opinions and the significance of the subject matter I am addressing?
  • Have I expressed my meaning with detail and forcefulness so that my readers will be able to "see" what I have written?
  • Am I presenting a consistent voice throughout the text? If there are variations in the tone of the document, are they intentional and effective?
  • Is my conclusion an effective summary, restatement, or challenge?

In addition, you should consider the questions that are invoked by the particular project you are addressing. For example, the critical questions you would ask of a Web site differ from the questions you would ask of a personal narrative.

  • Are there any templates available that I could use to make my work more visually appealing?
  • Can I make my work more scannable by using headers, bullets, or lists?
  • Could I use a picture, a graph, or a table to visually represent my meaning?
Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham

Editor-in-Chief
WritingCommons.org

Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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