Technical and Professional Editing
In this course, we learned about copyediting marks, levels of edit, communication between the editor and author, as well as the entire editing process. We completed several editing assignments that touched on everything from proofreading to comprehensive editing. For our final project, we edited the Frequently Asked Questions section of Canvas' main website. We also created a style sheet, wrote a cover letter, and analyzed the document. This assignment simulated a real-life editing opportunity in which we had to communicate with the author and establish a style sheet to keep our edits consistent. Because of this class and this assignment, I have a great foundation in the Chicago Manual of Style and have become comfortable with navigating and applying style guides to documents. This assignment also gave me the opportunity to think about the structure, and not just the grammar or word usage, of the document.
History of the Book in Theory and Practice
This course was team taught by a professional writing professor and a literature professor. It focused on the book-making process during the period of the printing press. Our first project was to complete a descriptive bibliography of a book from the special collections in our university library. We also designed poster presentations to pitch an idea for a new edition of a book (also from special collections and past the copyright date). Our final project was to create a new edition of a book which included writing an audience analysis, laying out the spreads in InDesign, and explaining our editorial decisions. From this project, I learned how to merge together original book production practices with modern day practices. Furthermore, I gained skills in Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop as well as knowledge about book production, design concepts, and editorial decisions.
Survey of Rhetoric
Survey of Rhetoric spanned from early Greek rhetors to 21st century rhetors. We studied various rhetorical devices and models, including the Classical model and the Toulmin model. After writing a few shorter papers about looking at social topics through a rhetorical lens, we selected a topic for our rhetorical case study. I decided to look at the term "feminism" and what that encompasses. I found that "feminism" meant very different things to different people and that labeling ourselves with terms restricts us in society. Ultimately, people should define themselves through their values and actions, rather than through socially-constructed terms that are interpreted and re-interpreted by society. This essay was particularly interesting for me because language is such a big part of my life. I quickly realized how important it is to be clear in your writing and avoid buzzwords that leave room for interpretation. When communicating with an audience professionally, a writer must define terms that can be ambiguous.
Topics in Writing
This writing course focused on literary nonfiction. It was the first creative writing course I had taken, and I fell in love with the genre. Since that class I have read several literary nonfiction books like Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Suki Kim's Without You, There is No Us. In this course, we read several short pieces of literary nonfiction such as David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster and my personal favorite Jo Ann Beard's The Fourth State of Matter. By reading these stories and mimicking their approaches to writing, we wrote several flash essays. In one of my flash essays, "Bumps," I worked on including a metaphor that stretched throughout the essay. This is important in writing because it gives the reader something familiar to hold on to while reading. Writing literary nonfiction improved my creative writing skills and my flow. It also taught me how to create interesting structure in a piece of writing.
Public Writing: Engaging Communities
In this course, we spent half of the semester learning about public and private theory and design concepts, and the other half of the semester putting that knowledge into use. We were put into groups and assigned to different nonprofit organizations around the Auburn/Opelika area. My partner and I were assigned to League of Women Voters of East Alabama (LWVEA). We met with the president and vice president of LWVEA and learned all about their organization. From there, we worked together with LWVEA to assess their needs. We ended up creating a brochure that LWVEA could hand out at their events that would explain to younger voters why they should vote more than once every four years. Through this project, I learned about the importance of working alongside people to determine what they need instead of deciding for yourself.