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How Level Best Books Prepared Me For My Future 

Camryn Levin, ’23 (PWR major)

The Level Best Books Internship was full of manuscripts, admin work, and writing reviews. It was through these activities that I learned about the publishing industry and the different layers that comprise it. I was able to get a grasp on the industry and use these experiences to better understand and plan for my future career. 

One of the smaller, but important, tasks I had to complete was updating the spreadsheets to ensure the editors were on the same page about the production schedule, the author contact sheet, and the royalties information sheet. This meant getting dates, emails, phone numbers, and royalty percentages from the author’s contracts and inputting them into the different spreadsheets. This part of the job opened my eyes to the less glamorous, less entertaining part of the publishing industry.  

My main task was reading manuscripts and writing reviews to send to the editors. The instructions were to look for a capturing plot and impressive writing style. The manuscripts ranged from 200 to 350 pages, each categorized as mystery or mystery-thriller. The reviews were no longer than a few paragraphs and had to include the details that led to my decision.  

While reading the manuscripts, I had to think of many things in order to write the best review I could. In order to do this, I asked myself the following questions:  

  • Is the ending too predictable for an avid mystery-book reader? 
  • Does the book drag, or would a more patient reader be enthralled? 
  • Does it fall into a “mystery cliche?” 
  • Is the writing too easy for me? Would it be too easy for an older demographic? 

All these questions help me form the distinction between me, as a reader, and the target audience of the manuscript. I would consider these questions and think critically about how to answer them. For example, I normally don’t go for mystery novels in my reading outside of the manuscripts, and I wanted to make sure that the plot twists I was reading weren’t ones that were common in mystery novels. If someone only reads mystery novels, do the plot twists become more predictable? Has this been done before? In order to answer these questions, I ended up reading some mystery novels outside of the job this summer. I also ended up re-reading manuscripts to make sure I wasn’t missing any obvious clues. For the second question, I would think about how I would consider myself a young reader. I like a fast-moving plot, quick development, and exciting pacing. Is this opinion indicative of my age? The age demographic of these manuscripts is probably older than I. Are readers in an older demographic more allowing for a slower plot? I made sure to keep this idea in the back of my mind whenever I felt the plot was a little slow. 

For the third question, I would consider how a mystery cliche is overused and obvious. One of those, gasp, it was the jealous ex-wife! Or, the detective is an alcoholic man who had marital problems and is using that to solve the case. These are some examples of cliches, and they’re overused and unnecessary.  

Finally, for the last question, I would keep in mind that sometimes the writing style of the manuscripts can be very simple, or easy. For an older demographic, it can be too easy or too simple. So when I’m reading a manuscript, I make sure to take notice of the simplicity of the writing style. If it’s too simple for me, then it’s probably too simple for someone older than me. 

My answers to these questions allowed me to write a review. I considered the target audience, the writing style, the capturability of the plot, and if the manuscript was an enjoyable read.  

Here’s an example of a review I wrote recommending a book: 

            I would categorize this book as a romantic-comedy piece mixed with a mystery thriller. There were only a few thoughts of critique I had while reading. Firstly, the writing style is sort of short and choppy, and definitely took some getting used to as a reader. Secondly, there were times when the scene would change, and it was hard to follow. Also, it wasn’t apparent to me as a reader that the story was being told by a future CJ until a good amount into the book. If that was made clear in the beginning, there would be no confusion. 

Other than that, I thought the actual content of the writing was interesting and exciting. I really enjoyed the plot, and a couple of times I was visually shocked. I think the target audience of this is definitely more in the teenage/young adult genre, especially because of the teenage-like language used by the first-person narrative. This first-person narrative really encapsulates how teenage boys think and act, all while providing insightful and intelligent ideas and themes.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The plot never seemed to slow down, and the resounding themes of time, love, and mystery were apparent throughout the whole thing.

This review was written very early in my internship. I wanted the editors to understand that I knew the faults of the book, but also that the pros outweigh the cons. I acknowledged the target audience of the book, the capturing plot, and the stylistic choices of the author. I learned that these details are critical to selecting which books get published in the industry. 

As the reviews carried on throughout the summer, I began reconstructing and reformatting my writing style as I got more comfortable with the manuscripts. I became more confident in what I was writing, blunter about what I liked and disliked, and more sure of myself as a reviewer. The reviews shifted in this way to become more attuned to the target audience, not of the manuscript, but of the review itself. The editor, my boss, is the target audience for my reviews, and so as the summer continued, I wanted to make sure my reviews were blunt so as to not waste the editor’s time.  

 All of these experiences really prepared me for my future. It definitely solidified my interest in the publishing industry and the possible opportunities that can come out of it. In the future, I want to do anything that involves reading and writing. This job was a mix of both, and I enjoyed it through and through. Even the admin work was enjoyable because I got to look through real author’s contracts, and set dates for the publishing of books. It felt important, and every day I felt I was making a difference in the company, and the author’s careers as well. In the future, I hope to continue working for this company and explore the world of publishing as I do so. Overall, the whole experience was a reinforcing positive sneak peek into the publishing of real books.  

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When PWR and Communications Collide: Reflecting on my Editorial Internship  

Hallie Milstein ’22 (Journalism major PWS minor)

I entered college indicating my intention to be a journalism major with the expectation of graduating and writing for a newspaper. Now a senior, my ambitions have shifted a bit, though still with the underlying goal of being a writer.  I now find myself interested in editorial work, specifically within the magazine publishing industry.  

I have just finished my third editorial internship since widening my horizons to magazine publishing last spring. For this PWR internship, I was an editorial intern for Modern Luxury, a large luxury media publishing company with brands across the United States. I wrote for southwestern markets, specifically Scottsdale, East Valley, Dallas, Houston, Palm Springs, and Hawaii. In this role with Modern Luxury, I was given many more opportunities to write than in past roles. Copyediting, fact-checking, and conducting photo outreach were also important parts of my daily internship, with the added benefit of bylines to help build my portfolio.   

Putting my foot in the door to the professional world as an intern has been a learning curve, and it definitely doesn’t fit into the mold of journalism that my major had anticipated. Rather, this internship was interdisciplinary. I see editorial work as a combination of journalism and PWR, my major and minor respectively, and drawing on skills from each discipline. In many ways, skills learned from PWR have filled in the gaps in my journalism education when applied to the magazine publishing industry. The key has been reflecting on my education and identifying which journalism and PWS skills apply to the editorial field and my internship specifically.   

One journalism skill that carried over was the emphasis placed on AP Style. Journalism courses at Elon have ingrained the stylebook into my mind, setting a standard for how language can be used for writing accompanying audio, video, and interactive graphics. This has helped prepare me for professional publications, even with the addition of house styles. However, I did not have to do as much multimedia work in this internship as anticipated by journalism courses. Rather, the magazines have separate design departments that handle visual elements and I just got to focus on writing. Upon being assigned a story, my process involved reaching out to sources over email; I would introduce myself and Modern Luxury, state my intention to feature them/their business, ask questions, and request that they submit high-definition photos before beginning the writing process with AP and house-added styles in mind.    

Another deviation from expectations set by journalism coursework is that I was not working in a fast-paced newsroom reporting breaking news. Rather, I interned virtually with longer deadlines, writing cultural features and recommendation listicles about food, design, and real estate. For example, I wrote two stories on restaurants where readers could eat Thanksgiving dinner instead of cooking. Though hardly strict news and not crucial for people to know, this story was still informational for the target audience. Perhaps the most useful skill I gained from four years of journalism courses has been the ability to recognize news value. Even if I am not reporting hard news, it is important to identify the pieces of the story that need to be told and that the whole article can be shaped around. This relies on my ability to identify factors such as timeliness, prominence, and human interest. For instance, when writing for Modern Luxury’s “The Guide” section that lists new and noteworthy things to do and places to be within the magazine’s market location, both timeliness and proximity were to be emphasized.  

This internship also involved a level of marketing. The stories were more human interest-focused rather than need-to-know news, and this publication specifically focuses on sharing the grandeur of luxury markets, often involving the “best” and “most exclusive” products and services. For instance, when writing a story informing readers about an upcoming design festival, I sought to emphasize the exclusive and appealing aspects so that the audience will not only want to keep reading the article but also potentially attend the festival.   

My PWR skills came into play when adapting to this new, nontraditional journalistic setting. On the first day of PWR 211 we learned about rhetorical situations, a lesson that has proved important in my current role. I had to take a step back and analyze the rhetorical situation at hand, especially focusing on audience, purpose, and genre. What does it mean to write for luxury audiences in Arizona when I’m a college student in North Carolina? And what are the expectations of different subject areas within this magazine, including real estate and art?  

One way that I have adapted to the rhetorical situation has been by incorporating keywords. For instance, using words like “exclusive” and “dazzling” that emphasize the luxury of the subject proved useful. Researching insider lingo to the location, like references to different neighborhoods, is also helpful in writing to an audience hundreds of miles away. This also applies to writing about different subjects like food or architecture where keywords are useful descriptors to appear knowledgable about the subject material.  

PWR has also helped me adjust to the expectations of writing online versus print publications. In this role, I have written mostly for the print magazine and have only written for the digital edition a few times. However, I have had to convert several print pieces written by others to online formats for digital reading. PWR stresses understanding the mediums for writing and how they impact comprehension and circulation. As such, I have had to prioritize search engine optimization, online formatting, and what will entice readership when scrolling through lists of headlines on the website. This involves reformatting such as breaking writing into smaller paragraphs and hyperlinking when necessary, tagging and assigning the story a URL, and changing creative and short print headlines to more descriptive titles that will encourage readers to click on the article. Outside of the writing process, PWR has also facilitated my ability to work in a virtual environment, helping me understand the expectations of a professional email and adapt to Zoom communication models.   

Overall, this internship has acted as a culmination of my journalism and PWR education. I plan to continue working for Modern Luxury through the spring semester and have also accepted a secondary editorial internship at a different magazine to add as much as possible to my portfolio. As I continue to analyze how PWR and journalism interface within editorial contexts, I hope to expand my understanding of the industry’s expectations, growing as a writer and contributor in the process. I intend to pursue a job in magazine publishing after graduation in May of 2022, and my goal is to continue to learn as an editorial writer, combining both journalistic and PWR skills.  

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Spring 2022 Course Overview: PWR 2120

PWR 2120 Multimedia and Visual Rhetorics I


If you are interested in the rhetorics of multimedia and visual design, PWR 2120 may be the course for you. PWR 2120 will be taught by Dr. Li in the upcoming Spring semester, and it will give students the chance to learn a process-oriented approach to design, which includes planning, research, revision, and production. If you take PWR 2120, you will have the opportunity to learn design strategies from a rhetorical perspective by balancing writer goals, user/reader needs, and design possibilities. 

Throughout the semester, students will work on multiple design projects which can be added to portfolios and resumes. PWR 2120 is a perfect course for students who want to learn more about technologies and software used in multimedia and visual design. Additionally, PWR 2120 is especially helpful for PWR majors and minors who want to enter fields such as marketing, visual communications, or advertising. 

PWR 2120 will introduce you to visual rhetoric, a field of knowledge and body of practice that is integral to multimedia rhetoric. The power of visual rhetoric is everywhere. An image can often have a greater impact on an audience than a written text. Visual artifacts, like written texts, are rhetorical. That is, they possess both a way of representing and carrying representational content. As we are increasingly surrounded by visual arguments, it is important for us to critically analyze both their rhetoric and content. 


Course objectives: 


  • understand introductory concepts of visual rhetoric and document design
  • develop an understanding of the concepts and methods used to rhetorically analyze and interpret visual artifacts
  • understand some basic rhetorical concepts/strategies and how they can be revised into multimedia rhetorical concepts/strategies, and how to make rhetorically informed decisions when producing different kinds of multimedia
  • compose various visual texts as a distributed, recursive process that adapts to rhetorical contingencies and that responds to distinct audiences and genres
  • understand how writing technologies affect how we write/communicate, when we write/communicate, what we communicate,  and to whom we write/communicate


Offered Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 to 2:10

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Spring 2022 Course Overview: PWR 4970

PWR 4970 Senior Seminar: 


PWR 4970 is a Senior capstone experience that will be taught by Dr. Moore in the upcoming Spring semester. PWR 4970 is specifically designed to prepare seniors majoring in PWR for life after graduation. The course will give you a chance to look back at what you’ve accomplished during college, while also helping you prepare for future professional and personal goals. In this course, you will draft a transition plan which will help you inventory your interests, skills, and values. This transition plan will assist you in articulating your short- and long-term goals, giving you the guidance necessary to develop a flexible plan to reach these goals.

In addition to the transition plan, you will also propose and complete a capstone project that is designed to further your professional development. This capstone project will be presented during the Spring Undergraduate Research Forum to peers and faculty. The capstone project can also be added to portfolios and resumes upon entering the workforce after graduation, helping you to stand out amongst other candidates. 


Offered Tuesday/Thursday 2:30-4:10

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Fall Course Refresher

Are you interested in Professional Writing and Rhetoric but not sure what classes to take? Here is a list and breakdown of the PWR classes that will be offered next fall!


PWR 2110 Professional Writing and Rhetoric (previously 215)

PWR 2110 will be taught by Dr. Li this fall. 2110 is an introductory course where students will learn about the broad field of PWR and how it relates to everyday life. 2110 will teach students that “professional writing” is an incredibly broad major that can open doors in countless other fields. Students will gain a rhetorical perspective on writing, as well as an understanding of the issues, topics, and practices that make up PWR. Students will gain hands-on experience through a variety of professional writing projects and academic research projects.


PWR 2110 will be offered fall and spring (Tuesday-Thursday 10:30-12:10), and requires a prerequisite of ENG 110. 


4 credits. 


PWR 2100 Professional Writing and Technology Studio (previously 217)

PWR 2100 will be taught by Dr. Paula Rosinski this fall. 2100 is a workshop-style course that provides students practice with audience analysis, rhetorical strategies, writing technologies and media, information and visual design, and project management. This course will introduce students to a variety of writing software packages used in the professional word and the numerous ways in which professional writers use them. Students will gain experience through hands-on projects consisting of writing, multimedia projects, and creating a digital portfolio.


PWR 2110 will be offered in fall (Tuesday-Thursday 12:25-2:00).


4 credits. 


PWR 2170 Writing as Inquiry (previously 297)

PWR 2170 will be taught by Dr. Strickland this fall. 2170 is a research based class that will introduce students to the research methods employed by practicing writers. Students will gain hands-on experience employing the research methods they have learned on various long-term projects and reports. Students will learn how to choose and adapt the forms of inquiry to specific rhetorical situations, which will enhance their ability as writers and professional rhetors.


PWR 2110 will be offered in fall (Tuesday-Thursday 2:20-4:00), and requires a prerequisite of ENG 110 or PWR 215 or PWR 304, or permission of the instructor.


4 credits. 


PWR 3130 Publishing and Editing (previously 311)

PWR 3130 will allow students to apply their rhetorical skills to collaborate on projects such as large-scale print and electronic publication. Students will learn advanced skills such as proposing texts to gatekeepers, developing textual and visual print content, designing print layouts, editing large publications, and delivering published products. Students will also explore the future of PWR through the technology currently impacting publishing and editing, and begin to develop their own professional identity.


PWR 3130 will be offered in fall (Tuesday-Thursday 1:40-3:20).


4 credits.



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The PWR Internship: How Rhetorical Strategy Enriched my Experience

Guest Blogger Jordan Stanley ’17

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.56.55 AMA hallmark of the college experience is hunting down and securing the perfect internship. Well, maybe perfect isn’t the best word, but hopefully one that either informs the direction of your professional development or enriches a particular skill set. The value of an internship extends far beyond getting a test run at your dream job. Sometimes the most important internships are the ones that you realize are a poor fit. In other cases, you might gain experiences during your internship that you wouldn’t have expected to like. These discoveries can be equally significant in informing your career path.

This is why—though it is not required in all disciplines—as a Professional Writing & Rhetoric major, you must have completed at least one PWR related internship in order to graduate. I had the privilege for the past two academic semesters of working under Dr. Jessie Moore for CarolinasWPA, an experience that has both improved my skills as a web writer and complicated my views of applying rhetorical theory to technical writing.

Carolinas Writing Program Administrators (CarolinasWPA) is an organization that strives to facilitate the communication between a diversity of universities across North and South Carolina on writing program related matters. This can include writing centers, first-year writing programs, professional writing pedagogy, hiring and budgeting policy, and more. My role as an intern for the organization consisted mostly of web writing—composing across a variety genres— from long-form articles and to shorter blog posts, to informational e-pages for the Council of Writing Program Administrator’s 2016 Conference website, which CarolinasWPA is helping to host.

While I certainly gained meaningful experience from my long-form writing tasks for the CarolinasWPA blog, the more technical tasks I completed for the CWPA Conference site most shaped my takeaway from the internship. Since the conference is in Raleigh, it was my job to compile information on what dining options, city attractions, and North Carolina destinations conference goers can check out in their spare time. I will be frank: this work was tedious. One page might take four hours of sitting at my laptop, collecting information on a restaurant’s location, cuisine type, contact information, its proximity to the Raleigh public bus, etc.; rinse, and repeat. While I was formatting the layout for the pages, and inputting the information, I was not fully aware of the rhetorical strategies I was implementing. In retrospect, however, I am surprised at how rhetorically informed my process actually was.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.57.20 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.57.33 AM

In any internship, there will be tasks you are excited about and other tasks you are less excited about. In my case, it turned out that the latter was the most informative. In fact, after I conducted a rhetorical reflection of my work, I was extremely interested by it. In my Multimedia Rhetorics class this semester with Dr. Lindenmann, we explored the organizational logic of written text and the image. I combined this with the concepts of the rhetorical triangle that I learned in my Understanding Rhetoric class with Dr. Pope-Ruark. Within the professional context of the conference website, the information I was compiling was supplementary to the proprietary focus on conference details. So, keeping in mind the purpose of my work in relation to the audience—conference goers—my goal was to compile the large quantity lower stakes information in a way that was easily accessible to readers. I accomplished this largely through utilizing the strict reading pathways I could create using text and incorporating images when could communicate meaning in a more succinct way than the written word.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.57.52 AMHaving the rhetorical strategies from my PWR classes in my back pocket turned what may have seemed to be a mundane task, into an opportunity to exercise my ability to create theoretically informed design and composition. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Moore and Dr. Pope-Ruark throughout this internship, finding a crossover between my academic and professional work.

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Coming Soon – The Scroll

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting a lot about The Scroll – the newly designed social media presence of the Department of English at Elon. Nine students in the Spring 2015 section of ENG 282 CUPID Writing and Design Studio spent the first half of the semester re-imagining the department’s Back Cover newsletter into a social media publication, encompassing Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and a blog.

Students will be posting about their experiences with the development of The Scroll, from several talking about our creative brainstorming strategy to others examining the logo creation and goals of social media platforms.

Stay tuned for the The Scroll itself which will launch over the summer when we hire our first department social media coordinator intern!


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Designing a eBook Cover

Emily Hill ’18, guest blogger

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.14.11 AMThis week I wanted to talk about the process I went through for developing a cover for our eBook in the Winter Term class ENG 311 Publishing. I never really considered the importance of visual rhetoric before this assignment. Originally, I did research on books with the same topic. One of our textbooks for class, The Case for Books by Robert Darnton,  really stood out to me, and I wanted to think of a way to incorporate an eBook theme into our cover.

I originally thought to do an iPad, but my project partner Tim  suggested I shouldn’t do that after I had already used that idea for an infographic within the book. After much more brainstorming, I was finally inspired to put our title, subtitle, and author credit text on the eBook bookshelves.

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.12.13 AMIf you refer to the image on the left, I originally just had the text, but then in class we discussed the concept of white space. White space is such an important element when it comes to design. After looking at this image without the book covers pictured below, I knew that something needed to be done. In addition, I needed to add some kind of color to the page.

Tim and I both brainstormed on how we could rhetorically appeal to our audience while staying relevant to the theme of the book. That is when we discovered the idea of creating our own eBook templates on the cover to fill the space. We purposely used books with different genres and areas of study to appeal to our intended audience of Elon undergraduate students. Our purpose for this decision was to show students that they can write and self publish about anything they are interested in.

In a chapter called “The Future of Books,” Duguid talks about the idea that anyone can steal other people’s information now that they have full access to it online. That is why Tim and I wanted to work hard in developing an original idea. It is interesting though, to consider his argument that since this idea was inspired by something previously created online, it can’t be completely original. The idea of eBooks filling shelves is a widely known concept and, therefore, isn’t completely original. This is a very controversial issue in the publishing industry nowadays.

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Print Text isn’t Going Anywhere

Cadence Dingler ’16, guest blogger
ereader-library1For the past 3 weeks, AKA the entirety of our short time here in ENG 311 Publishing  this Winter Term, our class has read about and discussed nearly 1,000 years of book history and publishing as a whole. A resounding theme we talked and read about was the fate of print books now that eBooks and other sorts of technological advancements to reading are coming about.

It is oftentimes assumed that print books are on their way out of our heavily technology-centered culture, simply because this technology is providing new ways in which to read. Many assume that because technology has many “advantages” compared to Books, that now all of a sudden print books will begin to disappear from our bookshelves and libraries.

However, print books really aren’t going anywhere, and I’ll tell you why. As I wrote in my last blog post for class, we as a race of knowledgeable, free-thinking, creative people have the ability to choose what we like and don’t like. If we, as a whole, really didn’t like printed books, I think that they would be gone by now. But honestly, many people would be up in arms if books disappeared from our society.

Not only do we get to choose what to keep and what to get rid of, but there would be hundreds of people around the world that would have nothing to read. As noted in our textbook, An Introduction to Book History, “developing countries cannot afford the new media” (120). Simply, print books are still widely used, not only in 1st world countries, but in 3rd world countries as well.

Again, I believe that if we really wanted print gone, it would be gone. But I think the majority of the world has no desire to see it go. For an interesting perspective as to why print books aren’t going anywhere, check out this link.

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Scrum Boards for Organization

Kelley Dodge ’16, guest blogger

IMG_1712 IMG_1710While the pictures on the left may seem like a jumbled mess of sticky notes, I have found the Scrum Board to be a great way to organize project management. Throughout Winter Term, my ENG Publishing class has been using a Scrum Board to monitor the progress of our long-term project – writing and publishing an eBook.

To begin making our Scrum Board, the class created sticky notes of every task that would need to be accomplished to complete the eBook. This ranged from stages in the writing process, to choosing a software program, to editing content. All of the initial tasks were placed in the “To Do” column of the Scrum Board. Next, we chose a select number of tasks to move into the “In Progress” column. These IMG_1722were the tasks that we focused on immediately, moving them to the “Complete” column before adding more to “In Progress.”

It is important when making a Scrum Board that the “In Progress” column is the smallest. Only place tasks in the “In Progress” column when they are truly attainable at that moment in time. The largest column should be the “To Do” column at the beginning, and eventually the “Complete” column towards the end.

While the board may be a little overwhelming to begin with, the satisfaction of moving sticky notes to the “Complete” column is so rewarding. It is especially exciting when the “Complete” column begins to fill up as you near the end of a project. Overall, I found the Scrum Board to be a logical and worthwhile approach to project management. Just look at all we accomplished by the end!


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