5 Types of Writing Formats

The 5 Types of Writing Formats Explained

Introduction

Once you stay focused on your purpose, whether you write letters, articles, journal writing/diary writing, fiction, business material, or even essays, your writing will be at its best.

Writing gives you a way to express your knowledge and human emotions. Every writer will use a writing style they are most comfortable with, which will reflect their personality.

However, every type of writing will require a different tone and style depending on the content you want to write.

There are different categories of writing which will serve a different purpose. As a writer, you will need to understand the goal you intend to achieve in your writing and the technique that will best serve you. This will make your work better.

Read on to understand the 5 different types of writing and when to use each one of them. You will also learn how to improve your writing skills no matter the style you put to use.

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What are the 5 Styles of Writing?

Writing has been with us for centuries now. People worldwide are writing academic essays, newspaper articles, books, restaurant menus, etc.

So, how do we exactly categorize writing? While there are many reasons why you would write, these are categories of writing styles: expository, descriptive, persuasive, narrative, and creative writing.

Let us analyze them below:

1.     Expository Writing

Expository writing style involves describing, explaining, or informing the reader about a particular topic. It exists to explain a subject area or a topic.

The goal of expository writing is to enlighten the reader about a given topic. The aim of the expository writing style should be to answer questions the reader has about a topic.

Imagine the classic how, when, why, what, who questions. You aim to lay down every aspect of your writing.

Avoid the use of technical language or jargon. Approach the expository writing from a newbie’s mindset. Make your written piece as understandable as possible. 

Most importantly, there should be no personal opinion or emotions in your writing. Unlike when using persuasive writing, in expository writing, there should be no agenda or angle. Just keep to the facts.

Expository Writing: When to Use It

It is invaluable to learn expository writing, especially if you would need to teach through writing. The teaching can be in the form of training a peer through a particular process.

Expository writing in history was more of an academic style. In recent years, its use is in how-to blogs and content marketing blogs over the web. Expository writing shows in the following:

  • Textbooks
  • Training Materials
  • Business or technical writing
  • FAQ pages, Help Center articles, or articles explaining how things work
  • Explainer or How-to articles

Examples of Expository Writing

This article is an excellent example of expository writing – its purpose is to teach and share facts. You can also find expository writing when you Google the “how to do” type of articles.

How to Improve Expository Writing Skills

  • Expository writing makes use of third-person pronouns. Do not use first-person pronouns.
  • Start by briefly introducing the topic.
  • Use active voice in conveying actionable information.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Cite examples or facts to explain your topic further.
  • In the case of writing instructions, have them short and precise.

You may also check informative essay examples

2.    Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing style involves describing a person or a place to create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

This gives the reader a better feel of the whole story. The goal in descriptive writing is to immerse the reader in the experience. It will make them feel like they are part of the story.

When you want to achieve the style of descriptive writing, imagine it as painting a picture using words.

Descriptive writing involves using all the five senses: taste, touch, hearing, smell, and sight. It can also involve metaphor and simile in evoking feelings or mood that is difficult to capture with physical description.

Great description writing aims at accomplishing four things. It gives the ‘felt experience.’ It also changes, enhances, and establishes the tone of the story.

Descriptive writing will give the reader a sense of how your character is internally.

Descriptive Writing: When to Use It

Descriptive writing is, in most cases, used in creative writing, and narrative writing can work along with it.

It shows informal writing in deeply explaining an idea or emotionally connect with a reader. Some examples of descriptive writing include:

  • Song lyrics or poems
  • Short stories and fiction novels
  • Copywriting such as for the travel industry
  • Non fiction narrative such as memoirs

How to Improve Descriptive Writing Skills

  • Make use of literary devices such as analogies, similes, and metaphors to make your writing colorful.
  • Practice your writing every day to improve your writing skills.       
  • Select the most suitable synonyms or words for your writing.
  • Do not overuse adjectives in your writing.

3.     Narrative Writing

The narrative writing style in its most basic definition is storytelling. It shares what happens to a character in a story. It can be a small anecdote or an epic tale.

The narration can take place in a few minutes or long years.  It can be fact or fiction. Narrative writing uses elements such as those in storytelling.

They include the core message, emotion, conflict, setting, character, and plot. You can also use narrative structures or story archetypes in shaping your narrative writing. They include the hero’s journey, rags to riches, or coming of age.

The sure thing about this type of writing is that you take the reader on a journey with a beginning, middle, and end.

Even when the story is about an event that took place not so long ago, your character’s story should start somewhere. He/she should then run into some engaging experience or conflict and eventually find a resolution.

Narrative Writing: When to Use It

The use of narrative writing is primarily in creative writing and fiction. You can use it in non fiction in order to make true stories more convincing to the reader. For instance, use your narrative writing in the following:

  • Speeches and Presentations
  • Feature stories
  • Creative essays
  • Memoirs
  • Short stories and novels

How to Improve Narrative Writing Skills

  • Plan your plot, setting of the story, and theme in advance.
  • Set your characters according to the time setting of your story.
  • Add uniqueness to your characters and plot for the content to stand out.
  • Have your content follow the following format:
  • Introduction or the setting of the plot
  • Creation of the storyline through engaging of the characters
  • The climax where the events leading to a resolution or end of the narrative

You may also want to check narrative essay guide

3.     Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing gets your point across. Its goal is to, in a thoughtful way, gets your point across. It could even be to convince the reader about your idea or point of view. Whether you need to inspire people to take action, or have a firm stand on an issue, use persuasive writing.

Of course, simply just stating your viewpoint is not enough. You will need to convince your reader to be on your side.

The different types of evidence to use when you aim at convincing people:

  • Textual evidence, such as excerpts from primary sources or books
  • Testimonial evidence, such as quotes from a given subject
  • Anecdotal evidence, such as interviews and personal experiences
  • Statistical evidence, such as studies or hard facts

Whatever form of evidence you choose, avoid the use of emotions. Instead, from a reader’s perspective, look at the most important things to say to convince them.

Persuasive Writing: When to Use It

Persuasive writing skills will show in non fiction writing. It is most valuable, especially in business writing – even in just drafting office emails. You will find persuasive writing in the following:

  • Recommendation letters
  • Cover letters
  • Sales Writing
  • Conversion Copywriting
  • Presentations or Speeches
  • Op-eds
  • Essays

You can check an example of persuasive writing in reading “Why I love Political Canvassing” by Sara Eckel.

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How to Improve Persuasive Writing Skills

  • Sell something you believe in yourself.
  • Research your topic in-depth.
  • Make use of phrases like current opinion, without a doubt, obviously, clearly, and so on.
  • Use the appropriate adjectives in your writing.
  • Keep the reader in mind when framing the sentences.
  • Quote influential people or cite well-known illustrations to back your writing.
  • Understand what your target reader wants.

You may also want to check persuasive speech ideas

4.     Creative Writing

As with any artistic creation, rules will be made to be broken. Creative writing is a writing style that exists away from the writing styles stated above. It may even combine the writing styles in unique new ways.

Creative writing aims at finding new ways of telling stories that can delight and surprise the readers.

In creative writing, you create the rules of how great writing can be. You can experiment with a new structure or format that you have not come across before.

You can also incorporate different multimedia elements and language in your writing. Allow yourself to have fun while at it.

Creative Writing: When to Use It

The intention in creative writing is to experiment with your craft. Here are some examples of how to use creative writing:

  • Data Journalism
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Flash fiction
  • Poetry
  • Satire or Humor writing

If you want some inspiration on creative writing, you can explore some of these reads to discover how other writers are pushing their limits:

  • The Pudding
  • McSweeney’s

How to Improve Creative Writing Skills

  • Make use of literary devices such as analogies, similes, and metaphors. It will make your writing colorful.
  • Bring a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to your composition.
  • Improve your prowess in making observations and then recreate the image using words.
  • If you experience writer’s block, use mind mapping tools to create fresh ideas.
  • Take breaks in between your writing sessions.
  • Keep reading your favorite books to horn your creative juices.
  • Take breaks from creative writing, engage in other writing styles, and restart on creative writing with renewed energy.

Other types of writing worth mentioning are:

  • Review Writing – Product review has become a thing nowadays. People will take their time to review laptops, mobile phones, movies, books, cosmetic products, and restaurants.

The tech-savvy folk will read reviews online before they can purchase a product or service.

Thus, many companies are now paying people to review their services or products. The writing style requires both descriptive and persuasive writing skills.

  • Subjective Writing – It involves opinion-driven writing. The writer writes their perspectives, beliefs, opinions, and feelings.

The writer will not bother about how correct the material is. Subjective writing originates from the experiences and observations of the writer.

The subjective style gives insight to the reader concerning their thinking process. The writing style accords freedom to the reader to imagine from their perspective.

  • Objective Writing – It is the type of writing which supports facts and evidence. The information you provide should be well researched and scientifically and statistically correct.

The writer needs to remain unbiased and neutral and allow readers to make their own opinion.

Objective writing is formal writing. Therefore, do not use “men and girls”; instead, use “men and women.”

This type of writing goes straight to the point. It is fact-driven.

Final Word: Implement these Writing Styles Today

When you understand the different writing styles, you will quickly understand an article’s objective. The knowledge helps you become a stronger writer and a sharper reader.

As a writer, you will write more effectively when you better understand the different writing styles.

You will learn how to portray your writing to the intended audience effectively.   

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