Table of Contents

  • Voice vs Writing Style

The 4 Main Types of Writing Styles

Which primary writing style is best for you and your book, the 4 main types of writing styles (& how to choose the one you need).

writing styles used by authors

What writing style should you use for your nonfiction book ?

All of them.

In this post, I’ll explain:

  • the difference between voice and writing style
  • what the 4 common types of writing styles are
  • what each one is for
  • how to choose a primary style for your book
  • when and how to use them in your writing process

Most importantly, I’ll show you how to use each style to hold your readers’ attention and get your audience talking about your book.

The difference between voice and writing style

Authors connect to their readers through a combination of voice and writing style.

Your voice is about how you speak and think. It’s about the words you use and the patterns in your writing.

Your voice is unique to you.

Your writing style is about how you’re approaching the reader at any given moment:

  • persuasive writing persuades the reader
  • expository writing explains things to the reader
  • narrative writing tells the reader a story
  • descriptive writing describes things to the reader

But that isn’t the whole picture.

Sometimes the best way to explain something is to tell a story that illustrates your point.

And sometimes the best way to persuade your readers is to explain the facts.

That’s why nonfiction books often use all 4 writing styles together.

As you read through each of the 4 different writing styles below, remember that the point isn’t to pick just one.

It’s to understand when and how to use each of them to give your readers the most value and make your book the best it can be.

1. Persuasive writing style

Let’s say I wanted to write a book about the value of letting employees bring their dogs to work.

One way to convince business leaders to adopt this idea is to use a persuasive writing style.

Here’s an example:

You’d never believe how much having a few dogs around the office can transform an entire organization. Not until you’ve seen it happen. Sure, sick days drop dramatically. And, yes, turnover plummets to almost nil. But the true benefits of a canine-friendly company are much harder to measure, and much more profound.

Like most examples of persuasive writing, this passage makes a direct appeal to the reader.

It mentions a few benefits but doesn’t offer any hard facts. There are no numbers or percentages. In fact, it suggests that the best benefits are hard to measure.

This style of writing works well for appealing to the reader on an emotional level, especially when you’re writing about intangibles.

It also works well for short segments of introductory writing that are followed up by hard facts.

2. Narrative writing style

People love stories. In fact, we’re hard-wired to pay attention to them.

That’s why they work so well as hooks, even in nonfiction.

Especially in nonfiction.

It’s all too easy to bore a reader with:

  • lists of disconnected facts
  • more explanation than they need
  • examples they can’t relate to

Stories bridge those gaps. They can:

  • connect facts
  • teach without explaining
  • help readers see themselves in your book

The narrative writing style  is great for grabbing a reader’s attention:

In 2007, I met the dog that would save my life.

Even if your book isn’t filled with examples of narrative writing from cover to cover, including a few stories will go a long way toward keeping your readers interested.

3. Descriptive writing style

A descriptive writing style takes narrative writing a step further.

People often associate descriptive writing with flowery, poetic phrases, but strong descriptive writing is just the opposite.

In 2007, I met the dog that would save my life, but you would never have guessed that from looking at it. It was the ugliest dog I had ever seen. Imagine sculpting a small, hairless gargoyle; popping its eyes halfway out of its head; and then smashing its face in. Whatever that looks like in your head, imagine it about 6 times uglier, and you’ll be pretty close. But for every ounce of cute that dog was missing, it had a whole ton of heart.

salt shaker

Descriptive writing is a lot like salt. A little bit goes a long way.

Use descriptive writing to set the scene and add some flavor to your writing, but be careful not to overuse it.

It’s especially good for adding humor or making certain examples stick in readers’ minds.

4. Expository writing style

Compared to the other styles of writing, you might expect expository writing to be limited to scientific journals and instruction manuals—but that’s not true at all.

Expository writing follows up persuasive and narrative writing with hard facts, adding logical power to your stories and examples.

You might hook your reader with a story and then provide a bullet-point list of the key things you learned from that experience.

Or you might start a chapter with an emotional appeal and follow that up with 7 measurable statistics that support your point of view.

Here’s an example of expository writing:

When you’re ready to draft your dog-friendly policy, start by canvassing your employees. Make sure no one has any canine allergies or phobias. If you discover that someone on your staff is dog-averse, see if you can address the issue by separating dog-friendly sections of your workplace from other dog-free zones.

The expository style is a direct, effective way to give your reader important information or instructions.

It doesn’t usually make the best hook, but there are exceptions to every rule.

A shocking statistic, for example, can grab a reader’s attention just as well as any story.

Most nonfiction books use all of these styles in combination.

For example, in a single chapter, you might:

  • hook your reader with a story (narrative)
  • add sensory details to make the story memorable (descriptive)
  • follow up with an emotional appeal (persuasive)
  • list 4 bullet-point statistics that support your argument (expository)
  • humanize those statistics with another story (narrative)
  • end the chapter with steps readers can take (expository)

That’s why it’s important to be familiar with all 4 writing styles.

But how much you use each method will depend on a combination of 2 things:

  • what you’re most comfortable with
  • what your book needs to be effective in solving your reader’s problem

Start with the one that’s easiest for you to write

It’s extremely unlikely for a new Author to start out equally comfortable with all 4 different types of writing styles.

If you’ve read a lot of academic writing or technical writing, you’re probably most comfortable with an expository style. That’s the one that will feel most familiar.

If you’ve read a lot of creative writing, then you might be more comfortable working with a narrative style.

When you’re writing your first draft, the most important thing you can do is just get it all down.

Your primary, go-to style should be the one that’s most comfortable for you.

Don’t let yourself get bogged down in the details of style choice. Just write your first draft in any way that helps you get all your ideas onto the page.

Start with a solid outline and writing plan so you know what you’re trying to share with your readers, but draft those ideas in whatever way works best for you.

Then edit to make your writing clear and compelling

Every chapter should start with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention.

This can be a compelling story or a surprising fact or statistic. It can be an unexpected idea that makes the reader want to know more.

There are NO rules about which writing style is the best way to do this.

The same book could easily use all 4 styles as hooks in 4 consecutive chapters. Or it might use the same style every time.

Open Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run to just about any page, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a story.

It might be a story about what he was investigating, or it might be a story about the investigation itself. Either way, he uses the narrative style almost exclusively.

This is fairly common with investigative reporters and books based on investigative reporting.

A how-to book, on the other hand, will depend heavily on expository writing to provide step-by-step instructions.

If your book really breaks the mold of traditional thinking, you might need a combination of narrative, persuasive, and expository writing to convince readers that their old way of thinking is wrong.

  • Narrative writing provides concrete examples of your ideas in action
  • Persuasive writing asks provocative questions that lead your readers down a new path
  • Expository writing follows up with facts, statistics, and instructions to implement your ground-breaking solutions

Once you have all your ideas down in a complete draft, you can start to edit your own work and decide what’s working and what isn’t.

You might add a short story to illustrate a point. Or you might decide a chapter needs more explanation to help readers adapt a solution to their own situation.

Consider each of the 4 styles and decide what each section needs to best serve the reader and hold their interest.

A note on memoirs

Memoirs will naturally gravitate toward narrative and descriptive styles, but that doesn’t mean those are the only styles they’ll need.

Even in the middle of a story, you might want to persuade your readers of certain key truths. Or you might need to explain how something works so they can understand what your team was up against in making a critical decision.

There isn’t always a sharp line between these categories, and there are no hard and fast rules about how and when to use them.

In fact, here’s the only rule when it comes to writing styles:

You should never feel boxed in by writing styles, and they should never limit you or your book.

The ONLY point of these different styles of writing is to help you think more deeply about how to communicate with your readers to solve their problem.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, understanding the 4 writing styles: how to identify and use them.

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General Education

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A piece’s writing style can help you figure out what kind of writing it is, what its purpose is, and how the author’s voice is unique. With so many different types of writing, you may think it’s difficult to figure out the specific writing style of a piece or you'll need to search through a long list of writing styles.

However, there are actually just four main types of writing styles, and together they cover practically all the writing you see, from textbooks to novels, to billboards and more.  Whether you’re studying writing styles for class or trying to develop your own writing style and looking for information, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we explain the four styles of writing, provide examples for each one, go over the one thing you need to know to identify writing style, and give tips to help you develop your own unique style of writing.

The 4 Types of Writing

There are four main different styles of writing. We discuss each of them below, list where you’re likely to see them, and include an example so you can see for yourself what each of the writing styles looks like.

Writers who use the narrative style are telling a story with a plot and characters. It’s the most common writing style for fiction, although nonfiction can also be narrative writing as long as its focus is on characters, what they do, and what happens to them.

Common Places You’d See Narrative Writing

  • Biography or autobiography
  • Short stories
  • Journals or diaries

“We had luncheon in the dining-room, darkened too against the heat, and drank down nervous gayety with the cold ale. ‘What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon?’ cried Daisy, ‘and the day after that, and the next thirty years?’    ‘Don’t be morbid,’ Jordan said. ‘Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.’ ‘But it’s so hot,’ insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears, ‘and everything’s so confused. Let’s all go to town!’ - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

You can quickly tell that this passage from the novel The Great Gatsby is an example of narrative writing because it has the two key traits: characters and a plot. The group is discussing eating and drinking while trying to decide what to do for the rest of the day.

As in this example, narrative writing often has extended dialogue scenes since the dialogue is used to move the plot along and give readers greater insight into the characters.

Writers use the expository style when they are trying to explain a concept. Expository writing is fact-based and doesn’t include the author’s opinions or background. It’s basically giving facts from the writer to the reader.

Common Places You’d See Expository Writing

  • Newspaper articles
  • Academic journals
  • Business memos
  • Manuals for electronics
  • How-to books and articles

“The 1995/1996 reintroduction of gray wolves (Canis lupus) into Yellowstone National Park after a 70 year absence has allowed for studies of tri-trophic cascades involving wolves, elk (Cervus elaphus), and plant species such as aspen (Populus tremuloides), cottonwoods (Populus spp.), and willows (Salix spp.). To investigate the status of this cascade, in September of 2010 we repeated an earlier survey of aspen and measured browsing and heights of young aspen in 97 stands along four streams in the Lamar River catchment of the park’s northern winter range. We found that browsing on the five tallest young aspen in each stand decreased from 100% of all measured leaders in 1998 to means of <25% in the uplands and <20% in riparian areas by 2010. Correspondingly, aspen recruitment (i.e., growth of seedlings/sprouts above the browse level of ungulates) increased as browsing decreased over time in these same stands.” -”Trophic cascades in Yellowstone: The first 15 years after wolf reintroduction” by William J. Ripple and Robert L. Beschta

This abstract from an academic journal article is clearly expository because it only focuses on facts. The authors aren’t giving their opinion of wolves of Yellowstone, they’re not telling a story about the wolves, and the only descriptions are number of trees, streams, etc. so readers can understand the study better.

Because expository writing is focused on facts, without any unnecessary details or stories, the writing can sometimes feel dense and dry to read.

Descriptive

Descriptive writing is, as you may guess, when the author describes something. The writer could be describing a place, person, or an object, but descriptive writing will always include lots of details so the reader can get a clear and complete idea of what is being written about.

Common Places You’d See Descriptive Writing

  • Fiction passages that describe something

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or eat: it was a hobbit hole and that means comfort. It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted...” - The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is the opening passage of the novel The Hobbit . While The Hobbit is primarily an example of narrative writing, since it explores the adventures of the hobbit and his companions, this scene is definitely descriptive. There is no plot or action going on in this passage; the point is to explain to readers exactly what the hobbit’s home looks like so they can get a clear picture of it while they read. There are lots of details, including the color of the door and exactly where the doorknob is placed.

You won’t often find long pieces of writing that are purely descriptive writing, since they’d be pretty boring to read (nothing would happen in them), instead many pieces of writing, including The Hobbit , will primarily be one of the other writing styles with some descriptive writing passages scattered throughout.

When you’re trying to persuade the reader to think a certain way or do a certain thing, you’ll use persuasive writing to try to convince them.  Your end goal could be to get the reader to purchase something you’re selling, give you a job, give an acquaintance of yours a job, or simply agree with your opinion on a topic.

Common Places You’d See Persuasive Writing

  • Advertisements
  • Cover letters
  • Opinion articles/letters to the editor
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Reviews of books/movies/restaurants etc.
  • Letter to a politician

“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’ - “This was their finest hour” by Winston Churchill

In this excerpt from his famous “Their finest hour” speech, Prime Minister Winston Churchill is clearing trying to convince his audience to see his viewpoint, and he lays out the actions he thinks they should take. In this case, Churchill is speaking to the House of Commons (knowing many other British people would also hear the speech), and he’s trying to prepare the British for the coming war and convince them how important it is to fight.

He emphasizes how important the fight will be (“Upon this battle depends the survival of the Christian civilization.” and clearly spells out what he thinks his audience should do (“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties…”).

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Common Writing Styles to Know

Each of the four main types of writing styles has multiple subsets of styles within it. Here are nine of the most common and important types of writing you’ll see.

Narrative Writing

Character voice.

Character voice is a common writing style in novels. Instead of having an unknown narrator, the audience knows who is telling the story. This first-person narrator can help the reader relate more both to the narrator and the storyline since knowing who is telling a story can help the reader feel more connected to it. Sometimes the narrator is completely truthful in telling what happens, while other times they are an unreliable narrator and will mislead or outright lie to readers to make themselves look better. 

To Kill a Mockingbird (Scout is the narrator) and The Hunger Games (Katniss is the narrator) are two examples of this writing style.

Stream-of-Consciousness

This writing style attempts to emulate the thought process of the character. Instead of only writing about what the character says or does, stream-of-consciousness will include all or most of the characters thoughts, even if they jump from one topic to another randomly or include incomplete thoughts.

For example, rather than writing “I decided to take a walk to the ice cream shop,” an author using the stream-of-consciousness writing style could write, “It’s pretty hot out, and I feel like I should eat something, but I’m not really that hungry. I wonder if we have leftovers of the burgers Mom made last night? Is Mom staying late at work tonight? I can’t remember if she said. Ice cream would be a good choice, and not too filling. I can’t drive there though because my car is still in for repairs. Why is the repair shop taking so long? I should have listened when David said to check for reviews online before choosing a place. I should text David later to see how he is. He’ll think I’m mad at him if I don’t. I guess I’ll just have to walk to the shop.”

James Joyce and William Faulkner are two of the most well-known writers to have regularly used the  stream-of-consciousness writing style.

Epistolary writing uses a series of documents, such as letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, or even text messages to tell a story. They don’t have a narrator, there’s just whoever purportedly gathered the documents together. This writing style can provide different points of view because a different person can be the author of each document.

Well-known examples of epistolary writing include the novels Dracula  (written as a series of letters, newspaper articles, and diary entries) and Frankenstein (written as a series of letters).

Expository Writing

You’ll find this style in textbooks or academic journal articles. It’ll focus on teaching a topic or discussing an experiment,  be heavy on facts, and include any sources it cited to get the information. Academic writing often assumes some previous knowledge of the topic and is more focused on providing information than being entertaining, which can make it difficult to read and understand at times.

Business writing refers to the writing done in a workplace. It can include reports, memos, and press releases. Business writing typically has a formal tone and standard formatting rules. Because employees are presumably very busy at work, business writing is very concise and to the point, without any additional flourishes intended to make the writing more interesting.

You’ll see this writing style most commonly in newspaper articles. It focuses on giving the facts in a concise, clear, and easy-to-understand way. Journalists often try to balance covering all the key facts, keeping their articles brief, and making the audience interested in the story.

This writing style is used to give information to people in a specific field, such as an explanation of a new computer programming system to people who work in software, a description of how to install pipes within a house for plumbers, or a guide to new gene modifications for microbiologists.

Technical writing is highly specialized for a certain occupational field. It assumes a high level of knowledge on the topic, and it focuses on sharing large amounts of information with the reader. If you’re not in that field, technical writing can be nearly impossible to understand because of the jargon and references to topics and facts you likely don’t know.

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Descriptive Writing

Poetry is one of the most challenging styles of writing to define since it can come in many forms. In general, poems use rhythmic language and careful word choice to express an idea. A poem can be an example of descriptive writing or narrative writing, depending on whether it’s describing something or telling a story. Poetry doesn’t need to rhyme, and it often won’t follow standard grammatical or structural rules. Line breaks can, and often do, occur in the middle of sentences.

Persuasive Writing

Copywriting.

Copywriting is writing that is done for advertising or marketing purposes. It’s attempting to get the reader to buy whatever the writer is trying to sell. Examples of copywriting include catalogs, billboards, ads in newspapers or magazines, and social media ads.

In an attempt to get the reader to spend their money, copywriters may use techniques such as descriptive language (“This vanilla was harvested from the lush and exotic island of Madagascar"), exciting language (Stop what you’re doing and learn about this new product that will transform your life!”) and exaggeration (“This is the best cup of coffee you will ever taste!”).

Opinion 

People write opinion pieces for the purpose of stating their beliefs on a certain topic and to try to get readers to agree with them. You can see opinion pieces in newspaper opinion sections, certain blog posts, and some social media posts. The quality of opinion writing can vary widely. Some papers or sites will only publish opinion pieces if all the facts in them can be backed up by evidence, but other opinion pieces, especially those that are self-published online, don't go through any fact-checking process and can include inaccuracies and misinformation.

What If You’re Unsure of a Work’s Writing Style?

If you’re reading a piece of writing and are unsure of its main writing style, how can you figure which style it is? The best method is to think about what the purpose or main idea of the writing is. Each of the four main writing styles has a specific purpose:

  • Descriptive: to describe things
  • Expository: to give facts
  • Narrative: to tell a story
  • Persuasive: to convince the reader of something

Here’s an example of a passage with a somewhat ambiguous writing style:

It can be tricky to determine the writing style of many poems since poetry is so varied and can fit many styles. For this poem, you might at first think it has a narrative writing style, since it begins with a narrator mentioning a walk he took after church. Character + plot = narrative writing style, right?

Before you decide, you need to read the entire passage. Once you do, it’ll become clear that there really isn’t much narrative. There’s a narrator, and he’s taking a walk to get a birch from another man, but that’s about all we have for character development and plot. We don’t know anything about the narrator or his friend’s personality, what’s going to happen next, what his motivations are, etc.

The poem doesn’t devote any space to that, instead, the majority of the lines are spent describing the scene. The narrator mentions the heat, scent of sap, the sound of frogs, what the ground is like, etc. It’s clear that, since the majority of the piece is dedicated to describing the scene, this is an example of descriptive writing.

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How Can You Develop Your Own Writing Style?

A distinctive writing style is one of the hallmarks of a good writer, but how can you develop your own? Below are four tips to follow.

Read Many Different Styles of Writing

If you don’t read lots of different kinds of writing, you won’t be able to write in those styles, so before you try to get your own writing style, read different writing styles than what you’re used to.  This doesn’t mean that, if you mostly read novels, you suddenly need to shift to reading computer manuals. Instead, you can try to read novels that use unreliable narrators, stream-of-consciousness writing, etc.

The more you read, the more writing styles you’ll be exposed to, and the easier it’ll be able to combine some of those into your own writing style.

Consider Combining Multiple Types of Writing Styles

There’s no rule that you can only use one style for a piece of writing. In fact, many longer works will include multiple styles. A novel may be primarily narrative, but it can also contain highly descriptive passages as well as expository parts when the author wants the readers to understand a new concept.

However, make sure you don’t jump around too much. A paper or book that goes from dense academic text to impassioned plea for a cause to a story about your childhood and back again will confuse readers and make it difficult for them to understand the point you’re trying to make.

Find a Balance Between Comfort and Boundary-Pushing

You should write in a style that feels natural to you, since that will be what comes most easily and what feels most authentic to the reader. An academic who never ventures outside the city trying to write a book from the perspective of a weathered, unschooled cowboy may end up with writing that seems fake and forced.

A great way to change up your writing and see where it can be improved is to rewrite certain parts in a new writing style.  If you’ve been writing a novel with narrative voice, change a few scenes to stream-of-consciousness, then think about how it felt to be using that style and if you think it improved your writing or gave you any new ideas. If you’re worried that some writing you did is dull and lacking depth, add in a few passages that are purely descriptive and see if they help bring the writing to life.

You don’t always need to do this, and you don’t need to keep the new additions in what you wrote, but trying new things will help you get a better idea of what you want your own style to be like.

The best way to develop your own writing style is to expose yourself to numerous types of writing, both through reading and writing. As you come into contact with more writing styles and try them out for yourself, you’ll naturally begin to develop a writing style that you feel comfortable with.

Summary: The 4 Different Styles of Writing

There are four main writing styles, and each has a different purpose:

If you’re struggling to figure out the writing style of a piece, ask yourself what its purpose is and why the author wants you to read it.

To develop your own writing style, you should:

  • Read widely
  • Consider mixing styles
  • Balance writing what you know and trying new things

What's Next?

Literary devices are also an important part of understanding writing styles. Learn the 24 literary devices you must know by reading our guide on literary devices.

Writing a research paper for school but not sure what to write about?   Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you. 

Are you reading  The Great Gatsby for class or even just for fun?  Then you'll definitely want to check out our expert guides on the biggest themes in this classic book, from love and relationships to money and materialism .

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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The 4 Main Types of Writing Styles and How to Use Them as a Writer

Understanding the 4 main types of writing styles can help you grow as a writer and attract an audience for your written work. Here’s how to identify each style of writing and tips for using each of the 4 common writing styles to develop your written skills.

writing styles different types

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One of the things that can help you grow as a writer is to learn the 4 main types of writing styles and use the characteristics of each to further develop your own personal voice as a writer.

writing styles used by authors

By learning how to use the different writing styles in your work, you will not only improve your skills as writer, but also learn ways to better connect with your audience of readers.

In this post we’ll cover the 4 main types of writing styles and how to use them as a writer to create compelling books, stories, essays, poetry, articles and more.

What are Writing Styles?

Writing styles are basically another way of saying the form or type of written work you are creating. Think of it as a classification for being able to identify what kind of writing you are creating.

For example, if you are writing a cookbook, that is a completely different style of writing than if you were writing a steamy romance novel!

Each writing style has a different purpose – and therefore, different characteristics are present when you are writing each type of different work.

Now that we understand what a writing style is – let’s talk about the 4 main writing styles which are commonly talked about amongst writers and literary educators.

The 4 Main Writing Styles & What They Mean

The four main writing styles which are commonly recognized are expository , descriptive , narrative , and persuasive .

Style #1: Expository

expository writing styles meaning

The definition of expository is this: “intended to explain or describe something.”

Most types of written work that fall into this category explain something in more detail, or provide insight and instruction in regards to a particular topic.

What types of writing fall into this category of expository writing style?

While there are many different types of written work which can be categorized as expository style of writing, you can often identify this type of writing by noticing the purpose of the work.

  • Does the work intend to explain something in more detail?
  • Does the written piece inform?
  • Does the written piece answer questions such as “what, how and why?”

expository newspaper writing style

Here are some examples of the different types of writing pieces which can fall into the category of expository writing:

  • Newspaper and Magazine Articles {not including editorials}
  • Non-Fiction Books
  • How-To Books
  • Self Help Books
  • Writing about Hobbies & Interests
  • Recipes & Cookbooks
  • Instructional Guides
  • Scientific Research
  • Textbooks & Educational Resources
  • Business Articles & Books
  • Medical Research, Journals and Articles

When you write expository style pieces, your main goal as a writer is to inform your readers with insight and facts that pertain to the subject of your piece.

For example, if you are writing about the history of ice cream, you would be including a lot of research and fun facts into your piece.

Note that this type of writing style is not intended to persuade or influence your audience. In writing your piece on the history of ice cream, you would NOT be trying to persuade your readers.

You would not want to say things like “Everybody should eat ice cream!” and “These 5 reasons will convince you forever to choose strawberry swirl flavored ice cream as your favorite flavor.”

Sometimes it can be confusing on whether an article is expository or persuasive. For example, an article called “The 5 Unexpected Health Benefits of Ice Cream” – would not fall into expository writing, even though it is providing information.

The word “benefits” has a positive connotation to the title. If you were to be writing an article on possible health benefits on ice cream, it would be very important that you as the writer keep your opinion separated from the facts and information if you plan for it to be an expository style piece. To be expository in nature, you would want to use a title such as “Scientists Research The Health Effects of Ice Cream.”

Books and articles that explain how to do something are also very popular examples of expository writing. Cookbooks are very popular, as they explain to others the tips, techniques, and recipes on how to cook something. How-to books for hobbies and crafts are also a good example of this type of writing.

Style #2: Descriptive Writing

descriptive writing styles

Descriptive writing goes deeper than expository writing. While expository writing might have some descriptive details and factual information, descriptive writing will make use of many writing elements and literary devices such as metaphors and similes.

The purpose and goal of descriptive writing is to bring your reader into the written work as if the reader were to be experiencing it first hand.

Most fictional pieces fall under the category of descriptive writing, and even some non-fiction pieces such as memoirs and creative non-fiction can fall under the category of a descriptive writing style.

If you are writing fiction, the more descriptive you can be with your words, the more relatable your story will be to the reader.

For example, we recommend that writers ask their characters questions as one way to really intimately understand the details about a character. Details about the setting, events, and people present in a story will help your readers be able to imagine and understand the piece.

This style also includes poetry. If you browse through some of our poetry writing prompts , you will see there is a lot of attention put on using details to create a scene or feeling in writing a poem!

Here are some examples of types of descriptive writing pieces:

  • Poetry & Prose
  • Travel Diaries
  • Personal Journals
  • Lyrics in Music and Songwriting

Most pieces using only a descriptive writing style are not very long. It is uncommon for a fictional novel to be 100% fully descriptive without getting into our next writing style, which is narrative writing.

Style #3: Narrative Writing

writing styles used by authors

Narrative writing is far more complex that simple descriptive writing.

While a poem for example may describe a scene or even events or people – generally you do not get into the deep inner thoughts of the characters or even get a full story with a clear middle, beginning, and end complete with conflict and dialogue.

Nearly all fiction novels fall into the case of narrative writing, as well as longer epic poems and sagas.

In narrative writing, there is a story to be told – a clear plot complete with setting, characters, dialogue, conflict and resolution. A narrative piece often has a timeline or sequence of events which further build to the point of conflict and resolution.

Here are some examples of the works which would be considered to have a narrative writing style:

  • Fiction Novels
  • Memoirs & Biographies
  • Screenplays
  • Myths, Legends, and Fables
  • Historical accounts
  • Essays which talk about a lesson learned or valuable insight from an experience

Narrative writing pieces are generally easy to identify, although sometimes it can be confused with descriptive writing styles. The key difference in determining which one a written work might be is whether or not there is a developed storyline or plot.

If there is a well developed plot and storyline, you are most likely reading narrative writing.

Style #4: Persuasive Writing

A speech to convince others to vote for you is an example of persuasive writing.

Persuasive writing is a type of writing style where the purpose is to influence someone into believing or doing something. As the word “persuasive” suggests – your goal is to persuade someone’s actions or thoughts to align with your own goals as the writer.

The persuasive writing essay is a popular homework assignment for many kids. For example, a student might be assigned to write an essay to convince their parents of something. “Why We Should Get a Pet Rabbit” and “5 Reasons You Should Not Make Me Clean My Room”.

Persuasive writing is intended to convince someone of something, and so it usually needs to have a good bit of research and logical analysis – but also should attempt to make an emotional connection to the desired audience as well.

A classic piece of writing which serves as an example of persuasive writing is Thomas Paine’s book Common Sense , which was written in the Colonial times of the American Revolutionary War, urging citizens that separating from England was of utmost importance.

Here are some examples of types of writing which are persuasive writing:

  • Editorial & Opinion pieces in Newspapers and Magazines
  • Essays on a specific belief or “hot button” topic
  • Letters written to request an action or file a complaint
  • Advertisements {Convincing you to buy something}
  • Copywriting {Note, copywriting is different from copyright!}
  • Company Brochures
  • Business Proposals
  • Political speeches

When the intention of the work is to convince the audience of something – this falls into persuasive writing.

How to Use the 4 Main Different Writing Styles as a Writer

Now that we know the different types of writing styles, you may be wondering how do you use each style?

writing styles usage examples

The first thing to do is think about what you are planning to write and what the intention is. What is your goal and what type of message are you trying to communicate to your readers?

Expository Style Writing:

In this type of writing your goal is to inform your readers about research or data.

When writing expository style pieces, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid using words which have a positive or negative connotation
  • Do not insert your opinion or attempt to persuade your audience into thinking, feeling, or doing something based on your beliefs
  • Use research and cite your sources
  • When writing online, link to additional resources or websites
  • Use quotes, illustrations or informative graphics to highlight the information
  • Give concise and clear directions

Descriptive Writing Style:

This type of writing has the goal to describe something and bring into your reader’s imaginations

Here are some tips for writing with descriptive writing styles:

  • Use literary devices such as metaphors and similes.
  • Use well thought out adjectives and adverbs to describe nouns and verbs.
  • Bring attention to small details
  • Use the 6 senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, sound, and feeling

Narrative Writing Style:

In narrative writing style, your goal is to convey a storyline to your readers.

Here is how to achieve this type of writing style:

  • Outline a storyline, plot or timeline sequence of events
  • Include detailed descriptions of your characters and scenes
  • Give your readers insight into the inner thoughts or behind-the-scenes information to elements of your story
  • Answer the 6 W questions in your writing: Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why?
  • Make it so your piece of work conveys an important lesson or insight – what is the moral of the story? What was the outcome of this experience?
  • Use concrete language which gives readers a specific image to visualize and relate to

Persuasive Writing Style:

When you are writing to persuade, your intention is to convince your readers to side with you. This can be as simple as convincing them to buy your latest new product, or even writing about important social and humanitarian issues.

Here are some tips for writing persuasively:

  • Include information, data, and facts to back up your argument
  • Cite your sources and give readers access to additional information
  • Appeal to your readers on an emotional level – how will siding with your opinion connect with them and make them feel?
  • Take into consideration your reader’s needs, wants, and desires and how your message will help your reader achieve these.

Understanding Writing Styles Can Help You Be a Better Writer

No matter what type of writing you enjoy creating – understanding the basic main 4 types of writing styles can help you become a better writer.

If you are writing a how-to article for example, you will be able to understand what types of elements to ensure your piece of work includes. If you’re writing a descriptive poem, knowing what type of language to use can help convey your message for abstract concepts.

Use these different writing styles as a fun writing exercise!

Even if you typically only write for one style, it can be a lot of fun to push yourself to try to write for the different types of styles. For example, try writing a persuasive essay, and then a descriptive essay on the same topic. It can also be fun to write a descriptive poem and then turn it into a narrative essay or short story.

Not sure what to write about using these different writing styles? We have TONS of ideas for you with many different writing prompts! Check out our list of 365 writing prompts ideas which are sure to inspire your creative muse!

Using prompts is a great way to help you start writing in different writing styles and push yourself to a new exciting challenge for your writing skills!

I hope this article about the different writing styles and how you can use them as a writer will be helpful for you in building and developing your written skillset.

What types of writing styles do you enjoy writing the most? Have any tips for writing in expository, descriptive, narrative or persuasive styles of writing? We’d love to hear your ideas and experiences in the comments section below!

Chelle Stein wrote her first embarrassingly bad novel at the age of 14 and hasn't stopped writing since. As the founder of ThinkWritten, she enjoys encouraging writers and creatives of all types.

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15 comments.

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To which writing style would a conversational manner apply best?

A writing that talks about the cages people Live can be classified as what type?

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An article one can easily connect with. It brings clarity and understanding to the different writing styles as discussed. Kudos.

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Writers.com

Writing styles may be hard to define, but something separates Hemingway from Steinbeck, Atwood from LeGuin, or Keats from Wordsworth. Though two given writers might dwell on similar themes, every writer expresses a unique writing style, conveyed through elements like word choice, narrative structure, and the author’s own voice.

But what is style in writing? On some level, style is ineffable. It’s also emergent: when you parse the elements of writing styles, you lose something that lives in how you put them together.

This article provides tips for honing style in your own work. We’ll analyze the different types of writing styles, look at examples of different writing styles from famous authors, and suggest different ways to experiment in your own work.

But first, let’s clarify what we mean when we say “writing styles.” What is style in writing?

What is Style in Writing?

Think of writing style as the author’s thumbprint—a unique and indelible mark on the voice and personality of the work. If a writer’s work is a house, style is what adorns that house: the window blinds, the doormat, the freshly painted eaves.

Style is like an author’s thumbprint—a unique and indelible mark on the voice and personality of the work.

Authors doesn’t only hone their style deliberately: writing styles emerge as a result of dedication, the author’s own personality, and a continuous experimentation with language and meaning.

To illustrate what we mean by style, let’s compare two examples of different writing styles from two different works of fiction. Each excerpt talks about the same dilemma—the endurance of memory​​—but approaches that dilemma in uniquely stylish ways.

“Perhaps you have forgotten. That’s one of the great problems of our modern world, you know. Forgetting. The victim never forgets. Ask an Irishman what the English did to him in 1920 and he’ll tell you the day of the month and the time and the name of every man they killed. Ask an Iranian what the English did to him in 1953 and he’ll tell you. His child will tell you. His grandchild will tell you. And when he has one, his great-grandchild will tell you too. But ask an Englishman—” He flung up his hands in mock ignorance. “If he ever knew, he has forgotten. ‘Move on!’ you tell us. ‘Move on! Forget what we’ve done to you. Tomorrow’s another day!’ But it isn’t, Mr. Brue.” He still had Brue’s hand. “Tomorrow was created yesterday, you see. That is the point I was making to you. And by the day before yesterday, too. To ignore history is to ignore the wolf at the door.”

—John le Carré, A Most Wanted Man

Compare this with the following excerpt:

“The ones who did it can always rationalize their actions and even forget what they did. They can turn away from things they don’t want to see. But the surviving victims can never forget. They can’t turn away. Their memories are passed on from parent to child. That’s what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.”

—Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Each quote addresses a similar theme : how the perpetrators forget, but the victims always remember, and how that remembering shapes the world. Yet they approach the topic in different ways. John le Carré illustrates his point by examining historical, world-altering events. He uses dialogue and describes the gestures of his characters to punctuate his ideas, and he ends by suggesting that, if we do not remember, then we are infinitely more vulnerable to the metaphorical “wolf at the door.”

Haruki Murakami, by contrast, uses far fewer words to illustrate the same idea. His sentences are less laden with imagery and description; they are merely vehicles to his conclusion that the world is “an endless battle of contrasting memories.”

Each author takes his own route, and each excerpt will connect with the reader in different ways. Such differences in expression are the essence of style. Writing styles showcase how a writer reaches their point, encompassing the totality of the author’s word choice, sentence structures, use of literary devices, etc. It is the gestalt of every decision, both conscious and unconscious, that the writer makes in the text.

What Authors Say About Writing Style

Before we move on, let’s illustrate this point about authors’ writing styles in another way: different quotes from authors on writing styles themselves.

  • “Style is the dress of thoughts; and let them be ever so just, if your style is homely, coarse, and vulgar, they will appear to as much disadvantage.” —Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield
  • “When we see a natural style, we are astonished and delighted; for we expected to see an author, and we find a man.” —Blaise Pascal
  • “The essence of a sound style is that it cannot be reduced to rules–that it is a living and breathing thing with something of the devilish in it–that it fits its proprietor tightly yet ever so loosely, as his skin fits him. It is, in fact, quite as seriously an integral part of him as that skin is. . . . In brief, a style is always the outward and visible symbol of a man, and cannot be anything else.” —H.L. Mencken
  • “You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being.” —Katherine Anne Porter
  • “Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.” —Robert Frost
  • “Style is what unites memory or recollection, ideology, sentiment, nostalgia, presentiment, to the way we express all that. It’s not what we say but how we say it that matters.” —Federico Fellini
  • “Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of style.” —Jonathan Swift
  • “The web, then, or the pattern, a web at once sensuous and logical, an elegant and pregnant texture: that is style.” —Robert Louis Stevenson
  • “Thought and speech are inseparable from each other. Matter and expression are parts of one; style is a thinking out into language.” —Cardinal John Henry Newman
  • “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.” —Stephen King
  • “It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.” —P.D. James

Elements of Writing Styles

Every author makes key decisions about their writing, and those decisions build over time into a cohesive writing style. What decisions do they have to make? In other words, what are the elements of writing styles?

Creative writing styles are honed through a combination of the following:

  • Word choice
  • Economy and concision
  • Literary devices
  • Context and purpose
  • The author’s location, time period, and influences

Let’s explore each element in detail.

Elements of Writing Styles: Word Choice

Also called diction, word choice  refers to the artistic decisions a writer makes in choosing one word over another, and how those decisions affect the meaning, mood , tone , and ideas conveyed to the reader.

Word choice refers to the artistic decisions a writer makes in choosing one word over another, and how those decisions affect the meaning, mood, tone, and ideas conveyed to the reader.

Take a look at the following two example sentences. Only one word has been changed in each sentence, and those words are synonyms, but the changed word has a huge impact on the way each sentence is read.

  • The Union beat The Confederacy during the American Civil War.
  • The Union subjugated The Confederacy during the American Civil War.

As you can see, changing “beat” to “subjugated” affects every part of the sentence. The sentence moves from neutral and informative to passionate and descriptive; the idea, once impartial, now comes across as heavily invested in the outcome of the Civil War. A word like “subjugated” transmits to the reader that the Union was extremely powerful, even suggesting that the Confederacy was a victim of the North.

Small details such as word choice can have huge impacts on writing styles. Another important element to consider is syntax.

Elements of Writing Styles: Syntax

Syntax refers to sentence structure—how rearranging the order of words impacts the meaning transmitted to the reader. It is closely related to diction, but where diction is concerned with the choice of words, syntax is concerned with the arrangement of those words, as well as the length and complexity of sentences.

Syntax is concerned with the arrangement of words, as well as the length and complexity of sentences.

Much of syntax is innately learned, especially to native English speakers. For example, an English sentence is typically constructed with the subject first, and then the verb, followed by the object of that verb. See below:

  • The quick brown fox (subject) jumped (verb) over the lazy dog (object).

If the daring writer wanted to complicate this syntactical order, they might write “Over the lazy dog, the quick brown fox jumped.” Of course, such experimentations can prove dangerous, as the reader might misinterpret that construction, or read it as shallow or pretentious.

Nonetheless, paying close attention to the structure, length, and word order of sentences can allow writers to develop their writing styles. Here are some other ways one might experiment with syntax:

  • Structure (active to passive): The lazy dog was jumped over by the quick brown fox.
  • Length : The fox jumped over the dog. OR: The quick, sly, and daring fox jumped right over the lazy and motionless dog.
  • Word order : The brown fox jumped quickly over the dog lying lazily.

Notice how each of these syntactical changes affect the rhythm, meaning, and style of the sentences. Some changes certainly worsen the effect of the sentence.

A final element of syntax is punctuation. Commas, colons, semicolons, em-dashes, and periods each have their own specific use in English grammar. How the author decides to use each punctuation mark contributes to the overall style of their sentences.

Elements of Writing Styles: Economy and Concision

All stylish writers know how to use economy and concision. They know how to use fewer words, not more, and they know how to make every word count.

There are certainly rules and guidelines for concise writing. The economic writer knows to:

  • Avoid adverbs.
  • Use strong, visual verbs.
  • Employ prepositions sparingly.
  • Only use adjectives when necessary.
  • Stay inside the active voice, unless the passive is necessary.
  • Provide only the important details.

Later in this article, we dive deeper into concision. Nonetheless, let’s demonstrate this key facet of writing styles.

Here’s a simple, effective sentence:

We careened from California to Maine.

The wordy writer has many reasons to make this sentence more complicated. Perhaps the reader does need more information. But, the writer might also be insecure about their own writing, or else they might think every detail needs to be ornate (a tactic called purple prose ). Here’s the above sentence, written wordier. In parentheses are the rules broken from the list above.

We were driven (5) swiftly (1) and without (3) direction in (3) our little blue Chevy (4, 6), somehow (1) finding (2) our way from California to Maine.

Perhaps the little blue Chevy is important to the story. It does add some personality to the people in the car. Otherwise, this sentence is haphazard, conveying too much to the reader in too many words.

Elements of Writing Styles: Literary Devices

Literary devices are specific writing techniques that forge novel connections and possibilities in language. You are probably familiar with common devices, like metaphors and similes . However, there is a wide range of devices available to creative writers, from the hyperbole to the synecdoche, from the onomatopoeia to the paranomasia .

In any work of creative writing, literary devices are essential to both the author’s meaning and their writing style.

In any work of creative writing, literary devices are essential to both the author’s meaning and their writing style. Sometimes, the device is confined to a single sentence in the text. Other times, various elements of the writing—its plot , characters, and settings—act as metaphors for broader ideas and themes.

Here’s an example of a metaphor that’s daring, stylish, and effective:

“Love is so embarrassing. I bled in your bed. I’m sorry. I have built you a shore with all my best words & still, the waves.”

Out of Bound by Claire Schwartz

This is a striking metaphor, heartbreaking in its imagery. The speaker laments at the imperfectness of love and language: how, no matter how carefully and precisely a lover chooses the words they use to love another, those words are, inevitably, broken down by “the waves.” What do those waves represent? Perhaps the limits of language—the ever-present gap between what is spoken and what is understood. In the same way that love is modified by language, the shore is always modified by the waves.

Many stylistic decisions go into the construction of literary devices, including:

  • Which devices are used.
  • The images used to convey deeper meanings.
  • The word choice and syntax of those devices.

Indeed, the construction of literary devices is closely related to syntax and word choice, but the way that the writer employs those devices and makes connections and comparisons is key to honing an author’s writing style.

To learn more, check out our articles on common literary devices and rhetorical devices .

Elements of Writing Styles: Context and Purpose

While an author’s writing style is the product of their own artistic integrity, some creative writing styles develop in relation to the context and purpose of the writing itself.

Some creative writing styles develop in relation to the context and purpose of the writing itself.

For example, an author might choose to write a murder mystery novel, a middle grade fiction book, and a historical account of the Sino-Japanese War. Each publication would have its own unique writing style, because the writing serves a different purpose in each book, and the author will have to write towards different audiences. We’ll explore this shortly when we look at the different types of writing styles.

In creative writing, the question of audience can matter a great deal. You would not want someone with a hard-boiled writing style to publish a romance novel in the same voice, nor would you expect a law critic to write poetry using the same word choice.

While audience should not define the author’s style and intent, it is a necessary consideration in the editing process before a work is published.

It is also important to note that there are different types of writing styles for different contexts. Let’s review those briefly.

Different Types of Writing Styles

In standard rhetorical analysis, there are four different types of writing styles: narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and expository. We mention a fifth style, the creative style, because certain decisions and elements are available to creative works that are not usually available to other writing styles.

Narrative Writing Styles

At its simplest, narrative is a synonym for storytelling . As such, narrative writing styles employ certain storytelling tactics to communicate a plot with characters, settings , and themes.

Narrative writing styles employ storytelling tactics to communicate a plot with characters, settings, and themes.

Here’s an example of a narrative writing style, which seeks to communicate the essential details for a reader to understand the story:

“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further outdoor exercise was now out of the question.

I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.” —Opening lines of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

These two paragraphs give us the essentials. We know that the narrator is a child with an unkind family (character), that they live somewhere bleak and chilly (setting), and that the speaker has been made to feel inferior to her peers (theme).

Narrative writing styles are commonly used in the following:

  • Creative nonfiction
  • Narrative poetry
  • Legal writing
  • Marketing and brand development

Descriptive Writing Styles

Descriptive writing seeks to evoke sensory experiences. This type of writing concerns itself with the effective use of imagery , including non-visual forms of imagery like sounds, sights, tastes, smells, and kinesthetic and organic images.

Descriptive writing seeks to evoke sensory experiences.

Here’s an example of a descriptive writing style, which uses imagery and other devices to reconstruct a particular sensory experience through language:

“The flower shop was here and it was my father’s domain, but it was also marvelously other, this place heavy with the drowsy scent of velvet-petaled roses and Provencal freesias in the middle of winter, the damp-earth spring fragrance of just-watered azaleas and cyclamen all mixed up with the headachey smell of bitter chocolate.” —Patricia Hempl, excerpt from The Florist’s Daughter

The writer employs a variety of images, scents, and comparisons to describe the sensual intensity of the flower shop. Details of the shop’s setting, smells, and the narrator’s relationship to the shop itself combine to make this an effective, descriptive passage.

Descriptive writing styles are commonly used in the following:

  • Medical writing

Persuasive Writing Styles

Persuasive writing wants to change your mind. By employing logic, argumentation, and various rhetorical strategies, persuasive writers seek to convince you that their argument or interpretation prevails.

Persuasive writing wants to change your mind.

Here’s an example of a persuasive writing style, which uses rhetorical strategies to convince you about a certain worldview:

“Perhaps everybody has a garden of Eden, I don’t know; but they have scarcely seen their garden before they see the flaming sword. Then, perhaps, life only offers the choice of remembering the garden or forgetting it. Either, or: it takes strength to remember, it takes another kind of strength to forget, it takes a hero to do both. People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetual recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence; and the world is mostly divided between madmen who remember and madmen who forget. Heroes are rare.” —James Baldwin, excerpt from Giovanni’s Room

In addition to Baldwin’s lyrical prose style, key elements of this passage try to persuade the reader of the narrator’s worldview. “Garden of Eden” and “flaming sword” are strong visual metaphors, and setting up this worldview as a binary (people who remember or forget) encourages the reader to sort people into one of two categories. While persuasive writing styles usually come off as confident, the narrator’s admission that he doesn’t precisely know the answer to this conundrum helps humanize the conflict he’s debating. Certainly, this is a depressing worldview, and one which the reader is free to disagree with, but the strategies Baldwin takes in constructing this paragraph are certainly compelling.

Persuasive writing styles are commonly used in the following:

Expository Writing Styles

Expository writing wants to tell you about something as neutrally as possible. The goal is to be informative: by conveying something with as little bias and interpretation, expository writing styles stick to the facts. Do note that bias is universal: it is nearly impossible for any text to remove itself from bias completely.

Expository writing wants to tell something as neutrally as possible.

Here’s an example of an expository writing style, which conveys facts in a linear and digestible paragraph:

“On June 13, 1910, Arthur James Balfour lectured the House of Commons on ‘the problems with which we have to deal in Egypt.’ These, he said, ‘belong to a wholly different category’ than those ‘affecting the Isle of Wight or the West Riding of Yorkshire.’ He spoke with the authority of a long-time member of Parliament, former private secretary to Lord Salisbury, former chief secretary for Ireland, former secretary for Scotland, former prime minister, veteran of numerous overseas crises, achievements, and changes.” —Edward W. Said, excerpt from Orientalism

This opening passage of Orientalism sets the scene factually: we learn the time period, some geopolitical issues, and a main actor in all of these events. Yes, the passage does play up the significance of Arthur James Balfour and his many accolades, but this, too, is expository description, letting the reader know exactly who and what we are dealing with.

Expository writing styles are commonly used in the following:

Creative Writing Styles

Creative writing styles combine the previous four types: a creative writer can employ narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and expository strategies in their work. You may have noticed that creative genres, like fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, routinely show up under the categories of writing that employ the above four styles. This is because authors must employ a variety of strategies to tell effective stories.

Creative writers can employ narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and expository strategies in their work.

But, in addition to employing the previous four styles, creative writing also seeks to experiment and find new, artistic possibilities in language. Poetry is an obvious example, as the use of stanzas and line breaks affects how the language is read and interpreted. But there are also countless examples of experimentation in prose, from the use of stream of consciousness to the Oulipian n+7 .

Here’s an example:

“I turned out the light and went into my bedroom, out of the gasoline but I could still smell it. I stood at the window the curtains moved slow out of the darkness touching my face like someone breathing asleep, breathing slow into the darkness again, leaving the touch. After they had gone up stairs Mother lay back in her chair, the camphor handker- chief to her mouth. Father hadn’t moved he still sat beside her holding her hand the bellowing hammering away like no place for it in silence When I was little there was a picture in one of our books, a dark place into which a single weak ray of light came slanting upon two faces lifted out of the shadow. You know what I’d do if I were King? she never was a queen or a fairy she was always a king or a giant or a general I’d break that place open and drag them out and I’d whip them good It was torn out, jagged out. I was glad.” —Excerpt from The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

This is, of course, a highly literary and experimental piece of writing, but it demonstrates something distinct to creative writing styles. The italicized portions of text are streams of consciousness—moments where the reader has direct access to the unfiltered thoughts, images, and memories flowing through the character’s mind. Understanding these passages requires close attention to the text, as well as several re-reads. While creative writing styles can be far simpler than this, the point is that a creative writer takes great liberties to experiment with language, in ways distinct to creative writing, which seek to mine the wide varieties of the human experience.

Creative writing styles are commonly used in the following:

  • Lyric essays
  • Creative journalism

Elements of Writing Styles: The Author’s Location, Time Period, and Influences

Lastly, writers are undeniably influenced by their location, time period, and literary influences. For example, if you’ve ever read a poem or novel from Victorian Era England, you know that the Victorian writers (like the Brontës, Charles Dickens, or Percy Bysshe Shelley) often wrote in elaborate and flowery language. By modern standards, Victorian writing styles might seem overwrought; but, that style was influenced by the era’s appreciation for emotional intensity, as well as the tendency to pay writers per-word.

Writing Styles: Examples and Analyses

Let’s take a look at three writing styles examples. For each writer, we will examine how various stylistic strategies affect the overall mood and interpretation of the text, while also discussing that writer’s influences and likely intent. All examples come from published works of classic literature.

Ernest Hemingway’s Writing Style

Ernest Hemingway once wrote “A writer’s style should be direct and personal, his imagery rich and earthy, and his words simple and vigorous. The greatest writers have the gift of brilliant brevity, are hard workers, diligent scholars and competent stylists.” Hemingway’s writing style certainly lives up to this quote, as his words are often simple, direct, and unadorned.

Here’s an excerpt from his short story “ A Clean, Well-Lighted Place .”

It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.”Last week he tried to commit suicide,” one waiter said.

“Why?”

“He was in despair.”

“What about?”

“Nothing.”

“How do you know it was nothing?”

“He has plenty of money.”

Hemingway’s writing style seeks to dispense the precise amount of information necessary for the reader, without any garnishment. Notice the details he provides: the exact time does not matter, only that “it was very late.” Notice, also, a similar pattern with the dialogue. People generally don’t speak in such clipped sentences, but the characters of this story speak to give just enough context for the story’s themes.

Additionally, the visual details, such as the dew settling the dust and the shadows of leaves against the electric light, evoke the sensation of a space that’s quiet and comforting, if also a little bit eerie.

Notice, also, the general lengths of the sentences. The first paragraph is built on longer sentences and clauses, which inevitably juxtaposes sensory details (an old man in the shadow of leaves cast by an electric light.) The effect of these sentences is that time feels slower, as the reader’s focus is on the kaleidoscope of details paused in this one moment in a quiet café.

Finally, pay attention to the lack of pretensity in Hemingway’s word choice. While the story itself deals with complex themes, including the question of nihilism, the language itself is simple, direct, and accessible.

Hemingway got his start in writing as a journalist, then as a short story writer, both of which certainly influenced his economic style. He famously coined the “Iceberg Theory,” which describes writing that focuses on surface-level details without explicitly analyzing underlying themes, rather implying those themes for the reader to interpret. Hemingway was also greatly influenced by World Wars I and II, and his writing style may have been a reaction to these wars, eschewing the flowery language of pre-war literature for a hardened, masculine style.

Toni Morrison’s Writing Style

A master of voice and character, Toni Morrison’s writing style borrows heavily from vernacular, from history, and from her own unique relationship to analogies and metaphors. Morrison frequently plays with sentence lengths and imagery, but her writing never fails to be compelling, lyrical, and delicious to read.

Here’s an excerpt from Recitatif , her only published short story:

My mother danced all night and Roberta’s was sick. That’s why we were taken to St. Bonny’s. People want to put their arms around you when you tell them you were in a shelter, but it really wasn’t bad. No big long room with one hundred beds like Bellevue. There were four to a room, and when Roberta and me came, there was a shortage of state kids, so we were the only ones assigned to 406 and could go from bed to bed if we wanted to. And we wanted to, too. We changed beds every night and for the whole four months we were there we never picked one out as our own permanent bed.It didn’t start out that way. The minute I walked in and the Big Bozo introduced us, I got sick to my stomach. It was one thing to be taken out of your own bed early in the morning—it was something else to be stuck in a strange place with a girl from a whole other race. And Mary, that’s my mother, she was right. Every now and then she would stop dancing long enough to tell me something important and one of the things she said was that they never washed their hair and they smelled funny. Roberta sure did. Smell funny, I mean. So when the Big Bozo (nobody ever called her Mrs. Itkin, just like nobody ever said St. Bonaventure)—when she said, “Twyla, this is Roberta. Roberta, this is Twyla. Make each other welcome.” I said, “My mother won’t like you putting me in here.”

Both lyrical and conversational, Morrison’s style simply makes you want to read more. Pay attention to two things:

One, the lengths of these sentences. Morrison routinely switches from short sentences to longer ones, partially to emphasize important details in short sentences, and partially to keep the pace of the story engaging. The alternation of short and long sentences mirrors a conversational storytelling style.

Two, the childlike voice behind the narration. It is clear that the narrator is a child. Despite being directly stated, this fact is also obvious when certain elements of word choice are analyzed. Phrases like “smell funny” and “Big Bozo” clue the reader towards a speaker whose words and observations are that of a child.

One thing that’s absent from these paragraphs, but very much present in Morrison’s writing style, is the use of surprising comparisons (similes, metaphors, and analogies). This example comes later in “Recitatif”:

“I used to dream a lot and almost always the orchard was there. Two acres, four maybe, of these little apple trees. Hundreds of them. Empty and crooked like beggar women when I first came to St. Bonny’s but fat with flowers when I left.”

The simile “empty and crooked like beggar women” might be shocking to the reader, but it provides great insight into the personality of the narrator. This sentence is also ripe with foreshadowing , since the trees were “fat with flowers” when the narrator leaves St. Bonny’s.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Writing Style

One of America’s most influential writers, Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and fiction forged new possibilities in the written word. Poe’s writing is often dark, gothic, and tinged with insanity, and his style reflects the problems that haunt his protagonists. Notice how psychosis influences Poe’s writing style in this excerpt from “ The Tell-Tale Heart :”

Poe adapts his style quite well to write a character who is clearly self-aggrandizing and obsessed with his own genius. The storytelling here has lots of repetition , such as “slowly—very, very slowly” and “cautiously-oh, so cautiously—cautiously” which makes the narrator sound in love with his own voice. And, it takes a while for the reader to understand what the narrator is doing, as his erratic behavior, like poking his head into the door for an hour, goes without a clear explanation.

Nonetheless, this writing is typical of Poe’s Gothic style. The use of words like “madman,” “midnight,” “vulture,” and “Evil Eye” give this story the grim moodiness characteristic of Poe’s writing. Additionally, the frequent use of em dashes and lengthy sentences propels the reader slowly, as we come to understand every minute detail that forms the totality of this character’s psychosis. This methodical, psychological writing style helps define Poe as a master of mystery and suspense.

Tips for Honing Your Own Author’s Writing Style

Writing styles develop with time, and there’s no singular thing any writer can do to hone their style. Rather, an attentiveness to language and a willingness to experiment are the best things you can do for yourself as you hone your author’s writing style. Nonetheless, here’s 7 pieces of advice for anyone who wants to write with style, flare, and confidence.

1. Creative Writing Styles: Experiment with Language and Syntax

Take risks in your writing. Be unconventional, and don’t always go for the expected word or phrase. Style doesn’t develop from playing it safe—it develops from making active decisions in the words you use to express your ideas.

What do we mean by taking risks? Here’s an example of a risky sentence, from poet Eduardo C. Corral: “Moss intensifies up the tree, like applause.”

This is a daring comparison: we don’t often think of moss “intensifying,” and so that verb already seems strange and risky. But then the moss itself is compared to applause, so now the visual cue of intensifying moss is being compared to intensifying sound. The product of this simile is that we see moss blooming and expanding across the tree, which makes this an effective and stylish sentence—but there’s a level of risk, faith, and skill involved in making this simile work .

Taking risks allows you to see what works and what doesn’t in your writing. So make bold comparisons! End your paragraphs with em-dashes! Try using four different languages in a single sentence!

Just be sure to review your work after and assess what does and doesn’t work for the reader. And, when you’re not sure what to do, try doing the complete opposite of what seems intuitive. You might find a short sentence works better than a long one, for example.

2. Creative Writing Styles: Experiment with Writing Forms

Creative writing styles often adapt to the form of the writing itself. For example, genre writing styles vary from genre to genre. You wouldn’t expect a writer of hard-boiled noir to have the same terse, simplistic style when writing romance fiction (although I would love to read that).

As you hone your writing style, experiment reading and writing in different forms. Pay attention to how the form demands you to make different stylistic decisions. The words you choose in a love sonnet will be different from the words you choose in a flash essay about your childhood. And, certainly, your sentence lengths will differ when you’re writing literary fiction versus speculative fiction .

Getting into the habit of making these stylistic decisions, and paying attention to those decisions, will help you create a mental framework for the ways you approach writing. Such is the nature of style development.

3. Creative Writing Styles: Consider Character

Character development is an essential part of fiction writing, and it will naturally affect the style you use to write. If you’re writing in first person or third person limited, then your protagonist’s personality will affect everything, because their worldview tinges the way you tell their story. Key observational details and thought processes from main characters naturally bleed into the style of the writing itself.

You can see this in action in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. His second novel, The Beautiful and Damned , is written from the third person limited point of view of Anthony Patch, an unambitious libertine whose personality is defined by wry cynicism and a rigid belief in the purposelessness of life. These personality traits often affect the storytelling, as the reader sees the world through Anthony’s eyes, and thus trudges through a lot of Anthony’s ironic commentary and disdain for others.

Fitzgerald’s next novel, The Great Gatsby , is completely different, both tonally and stylistically. Written from the first person point of view of Nick Carraway, an optimistic bond salesman who wants to immerse himself in the high society of New York’s nouveau riche. Much of the style is poetic and introspective, honing in on the creative chaos of the Jazz Age and the tragedy of the American Dream.

For your own writing, alter your style to reflect the traits of your characters. Style reflects personality, and the person narrating your fiction will certainly want to tell their story in their own way.

4. Creative Writing Styles: Omit Needless Words

While style can take many forms, one thing that all good author’s writing styles have in common is an economy of language. In other words, no word in good writing is excessive or unnecessary. To sharpen your own style, you must omit needless words.

What does that look like? There are two ways to omit needless words: striking out redundancies, and rewriting phrases.

Here’s two examples. First, let’s look at redundancy. A redundancy is when you communicate something multiple times without refining the meaning of your words. Here’s a redundant sentence:

“The girl vaulted over the large gray boulder.”

Nothing is explicitly wrong with this sentence, but several words are giving repeat information. You don’t need the word “over,” because to vault means to jump over something. And, you don’t need the word “large,” because a boulder is, by definition, large. Finally, most rocks are gray, and the word “gray” isn’t offering much useful detail.

A much cleaner sentence would simply be “the girl vaulted the boulder.”

Another example is to rewrite phrases. If you don’t think about your words, it’s easy to communicate something in 10 words when 2 will do. Here’s another example sentence:

“She worked many long hours in order to secure a trade deal with the company.”

God, doesn’t that just read like a corporate memo? It’s passively worded and nondescript. Isolate any phrase in this sentence, and it can be truncated into something much more straightforward. Be sure to avoid phrases like “in order to”—simply “to” will always suffice.

Here’s a cleaner sentence: “She hustled to secure the Nike trade deal.”

Lastly, some categories of words are better than others. Nouns and verbs are necessary for understanding the action of a sentence. Adjectives should be used sparingly, and only when that description is necessary for the reader. Adverbs, which modify verbs, should only be used when there isn’t a sharper verb. For example, “breathing heavily” is much better written as “panting.”

For more advice, check out our article on how to omit needless words .

5. Creative Writing Styles: Read Like a Writer

How do published writers write so well? What did they do to craft such artful sentences, effective plots, or in-depth characters? While you can certainly learn these tricks by taking a writing class , you can also learn them by reading like a writer.

Reading like a writer means paying attention to the construction of a piece of literature and thinking about why that writing works. We did a little bit of this when we examined the above writing styles examples. By examining the elements of writing styles—word choice, sentence structure, character and voice, etc.—we paid attention to what makes each excerpt an effective piece of writing.

Employ those same strategies in the work you read. If there’s an author you like or whose style you admire, pay attention to what makes that style effective. And don’t be afraid to emulate that style in your own work: writers often borrow from each other’s styles and strategies to hone their own voice.

6. Creative Writing Styles: Study Poetry

The writing styles tips in this article primarily pertain to prose writers. But, whether you’re writing poetry, prose, or some secret third thing,  reading poetry is essential to honing style.

Poets are masters of language. They know how to build tension, pacing, and rhythm in their sentences. They know how to make that tension correspond with what they’re writing about. They manipulate vowel sounds, constants, tools like rhyme and meter, and a whole other host of poetic devices to move their readers.

Writing poetry is its own separate challenge. Prose writers don’t need to write poetry to master their writing styles. But they absolutely should study poetry. What makes language beautiful? What makes a poem concise? How does the flow of a sentence accentuate its meaning? Asking these questions and listening to the poets will help you experiment in your own pages.

7. Creative Writing Styles: Write Every Day

The key to honing your style is to write every day. A diligent writing practice will train your brain to think about language and make continuous stylistic choices in your work. Even if you can only manage 10 minutes a day on a writing project, or even if you just keep a writing journal, the simple practice of putting thoughts to words and words to pages will naturally sharpen the personality you put into your writing.

Hone Your Own Writing Style at Writers.com

One last piece of advice on writing styles is to read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. You can find a free copy of it online here . Most of the advice in this book has remained true in the many decades since its publication, and while rules are certainly made to be broken, you should understand the rules first before breaking them.

Want clear, direct feedback on your writing styles and the other elements of your work? Take a look at any of the upcoming creative writing classes at Writers.com! Our instructors are masters of the craft and know how to sharpen your words so that they zing across the page.

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Types of Writing Styles

There are four main types of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative. Each of these writing styles is used for a specific purpose. A single text may include more than one writing style.

Expository writing is one of the most common types of writing. When an author writes in an expository style, all they are trying to do is explain a concept, imparting information from themselves to a wider audience. Expository writing does not include the author’s opinions, but focuses on accepted facts about a topic, including statistics or other evidence.

Examples of Expository Writing

  • How-to articles
  • News stories (not editorials or Op-Eds)
  • Business, technical, or scientific writing

Descriptive

Descriptive writing is often found in fiction, though it can make an appearance in nonfiction as well (for example, memoirs, first-hand accounts of events, or travel guides). When an author writes in a descriptive style, they are painting a picture in words of a person, place, or thing for their audience. The author might employ metaphor or other literary devices in order to describe the author’s impressions via their five senses (what they hear, see, smell, taste, or touch). But the author is not trying to convince the audience of anything or explain the scene – merely describe things as they are.

Examples of Descriptive Writing

  • Journal/diary writing
  • Descriptions of Nature
  • Fictional novels or plays

Persuasive writing is the main style of writing you will use in academic papers. When an author writes in a persuasive style, they are trying to convince the audience of a position or belief. Persuasive writing contains the author’s opinions and biases, as well as justifications and reasons given by the author as evidence of the correctness of their position. Any “argumentative” essay you write in school should be in the persuasive style of writing.

Examples of Persuasive Writing

  • Cover letters
  • Op-Eds and Editorial newspaper articles
  • Reviews of items
  • Letters of complaint
  • Advertisements
  • Letters of recommendation

Narrative writing is used in almost every longer piece of writing, whether fiction or nonfiction. When an author writes in a narrative style, they are not just trying to impart information, they are trying to construct and communicate a story, complete with characters, conflict, and settings.

Examples of Narrative Writing

  • Oral histories
  • Novels/Novellas
  • Poetry (especially epic sagas or poems)
  • Short Stories

About Writing: A Guide Copyright © 2015 by Robin Jeffrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Definition of Style

The style in writing can be defined as the way a writer writes. It is the technique that an individual author uses in his writing. It varies from author to author and depends upon one’s syntax , word choice, and tone . It can also be described as a “ voice ” that readers listen to when they read the work of a writer.

Types of Style

There are four basic literary styles used in writing. These styles distinguish the works of different authors, one from others. Here are four styles of writing:

Expository or Argumentative Style

Expository writing style is a subject -oriented style. The focus of the writer in this type of writing style is to tell the readers about a specific subject or topic, and in the end, the author leaves out his own opinion about that topic.

Descriptive Style

In descriptive writing style, the author focuses on describing an event, a character , or a place in detail. Sometimes, the descriptive writing style is poetic in nature, where the author specifies an event, an object , or a thing rather than merely giving information about an event that has happened. Usually, the description incorporates sensory details.

Persuasive Style

Persuasive style of writing is a category of writing in which the writer tries to give reasons and justification to make the readers believe his point of view . The persuasive style aims to persuade and convince the readers.

Narrative Style

Narrative writing style is a type of writing wherein the writer narrates a story . It includes short stories , novels , novellas , biographies , and poetry.

Short Examples of Style in Sentences

  • If it sounds like I’m writing, then I prefer to rewrite it. (Conversational)
  • “I think it’s a good ide,.” said Jenny. “You can imagine the outcomes!” retorted Emma, pushing the door open. Reluctantly, Jenny followed. ( Narrative )
  • The sunset fills the entire sky with the lovely deep color of rubies, setting the clouds ablaze. (Descriptive)
  • The waves waltz along the seashore, going up and down in a gentle and graceful rhythm , like dancing. (Descriptive)
  • A trip to Switzerland is an excellent experience that you will never forget, offering beautiful nature, fun, and sun. Book your vacation trip today. (Persuasive)
  • She hears a hoarse voice, and sees a shadow moving around the balcony. As it moves closer to her, she screams to see a gigantic wolf standing before her. (Narrative)
  • From the garden , the child plucks a delicate rose, touching and cradling it gently as if it is a precious jewel. (Descriptive)
  • What if you vote for me? I ensure you that your taxes will be very low, the government will provide free education, and there will be equality and justice for all citizens. Cast your vote for me today. (Persuasive)
  • The deep blue color of the cat’s eyes is like ocean water on the clearest day you could ever imagine. (Descriptive)
  • The soft hair of my cat feels silky, and her black color sparkles as it reflects sunlight. (Descriptive)
  • This painting has blooming flowers, rich and deep blues on vibrant green stems, begging me to pick them. (Descriptive)
  • Our criminal investigators are famous for recovering clients’ assets, as we not only take your cases but represent truly your interests. (Persuasive)
  • Our headache medicines will give you relief for ten hours, with only one pill – and without any side effects. Try it today. (Persuasive)
  • Tax raising strategy is wrong because it will cripple businesses. We should reduce taxes to boost growth. (Persuasive)

Parts/Elements of Style in Literature

  • Diction : It means the choice and selection of words, phrases , and clauses to use in writing.
  • Sentence Structure: It means the syntactic structure of sentences used in writing.
  • Tone : It is an author’s attitude toward his writing, his characters, and his audience .
  • Narrator : It means the narrator of the narrative who could be a first-person, third-person, second-person, or even an omniscient narrator.
  • Grammar: It means the use of grammatical construction in the writing.
  • Punctuation : It means the use of mechanics including capitalization.
  • Use of Literary Devices : It means the use of figurative language and other literary or poetic devices.

Examples of Style in Literature

Here are some examples of different writing styles from literature:

Example #1: The Pleasures of Imagination By Joseph Addison

“The pleasures of the imagination, taken in their full extent, are not so gross as those of sense. … A man of polite imagination is let into a great many pleasures … A man should endeavour, therefore, to make the sphere of his innocent pleasures as wide as possible, that he may retire into them with safety … Delightful scenes, whether in nature, painting, or poetry, have a kindly influence on the body, as well as the mind, and not only serve to clear and brighten the imagination, but are able to disperse grief and melancholy …”

This is an example of an expository writing style, in which the author describes the advantages of imagination with facts and logical sequence, and tells his delight in imagination. Then, he discusses its benefits and finally gives opinions in its favor.

Example #2: Summer Shower By Emily Dickinson

“ A drop fell on the apple tree , Another on the roof, And made the gables laugh, The breezes brought dejected lutes, And bathed them in the glee; And signed the fete away.”

This poem gives an example of a descriptive style. Ms. Dickinson describes a summer rainstorm in detail, with beautiful images, so that the readers can visualize this storm in their own minds as if it is actually happening.

Example #3: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three.’ By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp’st thou me? The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide, … The guests are met, the feast is set: Mayst hear the merry din.”

In this poem, Coleridge uses narrative style, as he tells a story about the ancient mariner. He uses dialogues , disputes, actions, and events in a sequence, thus providing a perfect example of the narrative style of writing.

Example #4: Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde

“The studio was filled with the rich odor of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden… The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through… or circling with monotonous insistence…”

This is a good example of descriptive writing style since the author gives visualizations, feelings, descriptions of a location, and details about bees that could be seen and heard.

Example #5: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain

“Pretty soon it darkened up and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it … and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves …”

Here, Twain has demonstrated a narrative style, as well as used colloquial words in presenting this passage, as expressed through the voice of a young Southern-American boy.

Example #6: The Raven By Edgar Allen Poe

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary… And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted – nevermore!”

Here, the poet crafts a story of longing and desolation. The poem reads like a tale, containing a proper beginning, middle, and end. It has narrative elements like characterization , symbols , plot elements, and resolution that make it dramatic.

Example #7: Smoke By Henry David Thoreau

“Light-winged Smoke! Icarian bird, Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight; Lark without song, and messenger of dawn, Circling above the hamlets as thy nest; Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts; By night star-veiling, and by day Darkening the light and blotting out the sun; Go thou, my incense, upward from this hearth, And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame.”

Thoreau describes the intensity of the smoke that helps form a colorful image in the minds of the readers. He uses metaphor to compare smoke to “incense,” or an “Icarian bird.” He also describes “star-veiling” and “shadowy” and lets the readers imagine smoke.

Function of Style

A unique literary style can have a great impact on the piece in which it is used, and on the readers. When authors write and put their ideas into words, they have many choices to make, which include: words, sounds, logic, and sentence structures. However, different authors use different literary styles that depend on their distinct expressions, and their utilization of these choices. And their choices create their niche.

Synonyms of Style

There are several words used as synonyms for style such as manner, method, approach, system, mode, form, practice, methodology, manner, way, procedure, modus operandi, design , and pattern. Each has its own connotations and can be considered as close synonyms instead of direct meaning.

Related posts:

  • Literary Writing Style of Dr. Seuss
  • Literary Writing Style of Ray Bradbury
  • Literary Writing Style of J. K. Rowling
  • Literary Writing Style of Charles Dickens
  • Literary Writing Style of Anne Bradstreet
  • Literary Writing Style of George Orwell
  • Literary Writing Style of Ernest Hemingway
  • Literary Writing Style of Edgar Allan Poe
  • Literary Writing Style of Jane Austen
  • Literary Writing Style of John Steinbeck
  • Literary Writing Style of Kurt Vonnegut
  • Literary Writing Style of Maya Angelou
  • Literary Writing Style of William Faulkner
  • Literary Writing Style of James Joyce
  • Literary Writing Style of Mark Twain
  • Literary Writing Style of Stephen King

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writing styles used by authors

What is Style? Definition, Usage, and Literary Examples

Style definition.

Style  (stEYEhl) is defined as the way something is done. In literature, it applies to how something is written. It distinguishes one author from another based on the  tone  and  voice  of their writing.

The Elements of Style

Everyone has their own unique style based on their personality, how they write, and their storytelling techniques. But essentially, someone’s writing style is the sum of the following elements: voice, tone, diction, and punctuation.

Voice is the personality that comes through the writing based on the author’s background,  perspective , and experiences. The story the author is telling will be a culmination of their opinions and culture, which shape the style of the piece.

Tone is the attitude the writer has toward the subject of their writing, which can affect the style. If someone is writing a persuasive essay and they passionately disagree with the topic, their tone may come across as angry, which informs their style.

Diction is central to a writer’s style, as word choice is a key factor in how readers interpret the text. Whether writers use words with a negative connotation,  metaphors , or abstract or literal language, it all makes a difference and contributes to that author’s style.

Punctuation

Though there are rules that govern the use of punctuation in literature, there is some wiggle room where writers can play around to make a statement or impact the way a reader understands a point. This is especially true in  poetry , where word breaks, dashes, periods, and commas are used to help get the meaning of the  poem  across. For example, in Emily Dickinson’s poem “ Because I Could Not Stop for Death ,” she uses dashes at the end of each line, which aren’t technically necessary, to parallel the theme of immortality.

The Types of Style

Different styles can be influenced by an author’s skill set or by the medium of writing—whether it’s a book or a newspaper, for example. The most common types of styles are expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative.

Expository Writing

This kind of writing does not include the author’s opinion. Its purpose is to provide non-biased information to an audience using accepted facts and statistics. This fact-based style is common in textbooks and informational websites. In fact, this very article is an example of expository writing.

Descriptive Writing

Writers use descriptive style to create a visual, and it usually includes sensory words to evoke a well-rounded picture of what is being described. Rather than state facts about a person or event, this style uses poetic images to get the point across, often using metaphors and similar devices to paint the picture. This style of writing is often seen in poetry and novels.

Persuasive Writing

In  persuasive  style, you know the author’s opinion because they’re trying to sway you into thinking a certain way. The point of this kind of writing is to convince the reader to believe what the author believes. This is often used in persuasive essays, advertisements, media articles, speeches, and cover letters.

Narrative Writing

This style of writing consists of a  plot  with characters and a story. Rather than simply convey information,  narrative  writers create a full story to communicate a message. It is commonly found in fiction novels and occasionally nonfiction writing.

Purple Prose

Typically, writers don’t want to draw attention to their style; it should be natural and appropriate for the subject or genre. When the style overpowers the plot or subject matter, it’s known as purple prose. It’s when an author draws unneeded attention to their writing style using excessive adjectives, formal phrasing, or too many words, or when it’s too flowery or unnecessarily poetic. However, this only refers to writing that detracts from the story and doesn’t serve a purpose; this doesn’t apply to the characteristically flowery writing in classic novels or poetry.

The Function of Style

Every author has a writing style that individualizes their work. It’s what makes their writing interesting and what determines whether readers enjoy their pieces. Without a writing style, their work would be boring and monotone. Every choice the writer makes, including  pacing , word choice, and  tone  determines how the reader will take in the message of their writing. It’s what makes you read all the books written by your favorite author; you know that no matter the plot, you’ll enjoy the way the story is told.

Examples of Style in Literature

1. Walt Whitman, “Thoughts”

Whitman uses a persuasive style of writing in the third  stanza  of this  poem :

OF persons arrived at high positions, ceremonies,
wealth, scholarships, and the like;
To me, all that those persons have arrived at, sinks
away from them, except as it results to their
Bodies and Souls,
So that often to me they appear gaunt and naked;
And often, to me, each one mocks the others, and
mocks himself or herself,
And of each one, the core of life, namely happiness,
is full of the rotten excrement of maggots,
And often, to me, those men and women pass unwit-
tingly the true realities of life, and go toward
false realities,
And often, to me, they are alive after what custom has
served them, but nothing more,
And often, to me, they are sad, hasty, unwaked son-
nambules, walking the dusk.

Here, he’s telling readers that seeking wealth and status does more harm than good to the human soul. He describes what their bodies are reduced to after leading such a meaningless life, using phrases such as “rotten excrement” and “walking the dusk” to make his point.

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald,  The Great Gatsby

Nick is having dinner with his cousin Daisy, her husband, and a friend, and he begins to describe her countenance:

I looked back at my cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget […]

Fitzgerald uses descriptive language here to paint a picture of Nick’s cousin, describing auditory and visual senses to place the reader in the room as if they were one of her admirers.

3. Agatha Christie,  The A.B.C. Murders

Detective Hercule Poirot awakens Captain Hastings to share that another murder had taken place:

Poirot was standing by my bedside gently shaking me by the shoulder. One glance at his face brought me from semi-consciousness into full possession of my faculties […] As I sprang from bed and made a rapid toilet, he recounted briefly what he had just learnt over the telephone.

This example of  narrative  style, as the scene describes the interaction between two characters at a crucial plot point.

Further Resources on Style

William Shrunk Jr. and E.B. White’s  The Elements of Style  is a classic book on how to make a large impact with your writing style.

Writer’s Edit wrote  ten tips  for developing your own unique writing style.

Related Terms

writing styles used by authors

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Definitive Guide to Writing Styles

April 26, 2024 by Richard Leave a Comment

Definitive Guide to Writing Styles

This is our Definitive Guide to Writing Styles: Throughout history, writers have employed various styles and techniques to convey their ideas, emotions, and stories effectively. Each writing style has its unique characteristics, purpose, and impact on the reader, making it essential for writers to understand and master these different approaches. Whether you are a novelist, journalist, poet, or simply someone who enjoys expressing yourself through the written word, having a deep understanding of the diverse writing styles can help you improve your craft and communicate your message more effectively.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide a detailed overview of the numerous writing styles that have evolved from the classical to the contemporary, from the artistic to the technical. By exploring these styles, you will understand how writers have used language, structure, and tone to create compelling and impactful works across various genres and mediums.

In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of each writing style, examining its key features, techniques, and examples from renowned authors who have mastered these approaches. We will also discuss the purposes and contexts in which each style is most effective, helping you choose the appropriate style for your writing projects and target audience.

Whether you seek to inform, persuade, entertain, or provoke thought, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to elevate your writing and leave a lasting impact on your readers. By understanding the nuances of each writing style, you can experiment with different approaches, develop your unique voice, and ultimately become a more versatile and accomplished writer.

So, let us embark on this journey through the fascinating world of writing styles, exploring the power of language to shape our thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. Whether you are a seasoned writer or just starting this definitive guide will be invaluable in your quest to master the art of written expression.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Writing Style

Choosing the appropriate writing style is crucial for effectively communicating your message and engaging your target audience. The right style can make your writing more compelling, persuasive, and memorable, while the wrong style can confuse your readers, disinterested, or even offend. Here are some key reasons why selecting the proper writing style is so important:

  • Clarity and Comprehension: Different writing styles are suited to different purposes and audiences. For example, technical writing aims to convey complex information clearly and concisely, while creative writing often employs figurative language and evocative imagery to engage the reader’s imagination. Choosing a style that matches your purpose and audience ensures that your intended readers understand and appreciate your message.
  • Credibility and Authority: Your writing style can also impact your credibility and authority on a subject. For instance, academic writing requires a formal, objective tone and rigorous citation of sources to establish the writer’s expertise and trustworthiness. Similarly, journalistic writing must adhere to accuracy, fairness, and impartiality to maintain the reader’s trust. Adopting the appropriate style can demonstrate your knowledge and professionalism in your field.
  • Emotional Impact and Resonance: The right writing style can also help you create an emotional connection with your readers. For example, a personal essay or memoir may use a confessional, reflective tone to invite the reader into the writer’s inner world and experiences. A persuasive essay, on the other hand, may employ rhetorical devices and a passionate, urgent tone to convince the reader to take action or adopt a particular viewpoint. You can create a more robust and lasting impact by choosing a style that resonates with your readers’ emotions and values.
  • Artistic Expression and Creativity: For creative writers, the choice of writing style is also an opportunity for artistic expression and innovation. Different styles, such as experimental, absurdist, or lyrical writing, allow writers to push the boundaries of language and form, creating unique and thought-provoking works that challenge and inspire readers. You can produce original and memorable pieces that showcase your talents and perspectives by selecting a style that aligns with your creative vision and voice.
  • Professional Success and Marketability: Finally, the ability to adapt your writing style to different contexts and audiences can also contribute to your professional success and marketability as a writer. Whether you are crafting a grant proposal, a marketing campaign, or a legal brief, being able to write in the appropriate style can make your work more effective and persuasive. Moreover, demonstrating versatility and skill across multiple styles can open up new opportunities and markets for your writing, increasing your visibility and value as a professional writer.

In conclusion, choosing the right writing style is essential for creating compelling, engaging, and impactful works. By understanding each style’s unique characteristics and purposes and selecting the one that best fits your goals and audience, you can elevate your writing and achieve tremendous success in your personal and professional endeavors. So, take the time to study and practice different writing styles and develop the skills and flexibility to adapt your writing to any context or challenge that comes your way.

The Writing Styles

Academic writing: .

Academic writing follows a formal structure and style for scholarly research and discourse. This writing style is used in various academic disciplines, such as the sciences, humanities, and social sciences, and is characterized by its objectivity, precision, and use of discipline-specific terminology. Academic writing includes research papers, dissertations, conference papers, and scholarly articles, among other forms. Writers must demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter, engage with existing literature, and contribute original ideas or findings to their field of study. Effective academic writing is well-organized, thoroughly researched, and properly cited, following the conventions and standards of the specific academic discipline.

Absurdist Writing: 

Absurdist writing presents irrational or meaningless situations, often to comment on the human condition. This writing style emphasizes life’s absurdity and pointlessness, using non-sequiturs, contradictions, and illogical plot developments to create a sense of disorientation and existential despair. Absurdist writers often use dark humor and satire to critique societal norms and expectations, exposing the inherent meaninglessness and chaos of the world. Effective absurdist writing requires a willingness to embrace the bizarre and the nonsensical, as well as the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to create a sense of unease and discomfort in the reader.

Analytical Writing:

 Analytical writing examines and interprets a subject, often breaking it down into smaller parts to better understand the whole. This writing style involves critical thinking, research, and the ability to synthesize information from various sources. Analytical writing is commonly used in academic settings, such as research papers, literary analyses, and case studies, as well as in business reports and policy papers. The writer must present a clear thesis or argument, provide evidence to support their claims and draw meaningful conclusions based on their analysis. Effective analytical writing demonstrates the writer’s ability to think logically, interpret data, and communicate complex ideas clearly and concisely.

Apologetic Writing: 

Apologetic writing defends a belief, idea, or action, often in response to criticism. This writing style is used by religious leaders, politicians, and activists to justify and explain their positions on controversial issues. Apologetic writing may involve:

  • Addressing counterarguments.
  • Providing evidence and examples to support one’s position.
  • Appealing to shared values and beliefs.

Effective apologetic writing is well-reasoned and persuasive and demonstrates a deep understanding of the issues at stake.

Argumentative Writing: 

Argumentative writing presents a clear position on an issue and uses evidence to support it. This writing style is used by essayists, journalists, and academics to persuade readers to accept a particular point of view or take a specific action. Argumentative writing involves presenting a thesis statement, providing supporting evidence and examples, and addressing counterarguments. Effective argumentative writing is logical, well-researched, and engages with multiple perspectives.

Biographical Writing: 

Based on extensive research and factual information, biographical writing tells the story of a natural person’s life. Biographers must gather data from various sources, such as interviews, letters, diaries, and historical records, to create a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of their subject’s life. This writing style requires a balance between presenting factual information and crafting a compelling narrative that captures the subject’s personality, achievements, and struggles. Effective biographical writing is well-researched, objective, and engaging, giving readers a deeper understanding of the subject’s life and legacy.

Blogging is a form of online writing that involves creating regularly updated content, usually conversational or personal. Bloggers write about various topics, from personal experiences and opinions to niche interests and professional expertise. This writing style often aims to inform, entertain, or persuade readers while fostering community and engagement through comments and social media sharing. Effective blogging requires a consistent voice, a clear focus, and the ability to connect with the target audience. Successful bloggers often develop a strong personal brand, cultivate a loyal following, and use their platform to influence, educate, or inspire their readers.

Business Writing: 

Business writing involves communicating professionally in business, such as through emails, reports, proposals, or presentations. This writing style aims to convey information, make requests, or persuade colleagues, clients, or stakeholders concisely and effectively. Business writers must adapt their tone and style to suit the specific purpose and audience while maintaining a professional and courteous approach. Effective business writing is well-organized, error-free, and achieves the desired outcome, whether securing a contract, resolving a conflict, or sharing important updates.

Children’s Writing: 

Children’s writing creates content suitable for young readers, often with educational or moral messages. This writing style may include picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade novels, each with unique conventions and age-appropriate themes. Children’s writers use simple language, imaginative storytelling, and engaging illustrations to capture the attention and hearts of young readers. Effective children’s writing requires a deep understanding of child development and learning and the ability to create fun and memorable characters and stories that inspire a lifelong love of reading. You might also want to check out 100 Children’s Story Ideas to Inspire.

Comic Book Writing: 

Comic book writing involves creating stories and narratives through sequential art and text. This writing style is used by comic book writers, graphic novelists, and storyboard artists to craft engaging and visually compelling stories across various genres, such as superhero, fantasy, science  fict ion, and horror. Comic book writing requires a deep understanding of visual storytelling techniques, character development, and world-building. Compelling comic book writing seamlessly integrates text and images, using dialogue, captions, and sound effects to guide the reader through the story. Check out our 100 Superhero writing prompts to inspire your writing.

Comedy Writing:

Comedy writing involves creating humorous content, such as jokes, sketches, or satirical pieces. This writing style aims to entertain and amuse audiences using various techniques, such as irony, sarcasm, exaggeration, and absurdity. Comedy writers often draw inspiration from everyday life, current events, and social norms, using humor to comment on or critique these subjects. Effective comedy writing requires a keen understanding of timing, delivery, and audience preferences and the ability to craft memorable punchlines and characters.

Confessional Poetry: 

Confessional poetry expresses the poet’s experiences, often with intense emotions and vulnerability. This writing style emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, with poets such as Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell using their own lives as subject matter for their work. Confessional poets often explore themes of mental illness, trauma, sexuality, and family dysfunction, using vivid and sometimes shocking imagery to convey their innermost thoughts and feelings. Compelling confessional poetry requires a willingness to be honest and open about one’s experiences and the ability to use language and poetic techniques to create a sense of intimacy and emotional resonance with the reader.

Cosmic Horror 

Writing Cosmic horror writing evokes fear of the unknown and humanity’s insignificance in the universe. This writing style, popularized by H.P. Lovecraft and other writers in the early 20th century, often features ancient, otherworldly entities that defy human comprehension and threaten to destroy or corrupt everything we know. Cosmic horror writers use vivid descriptions of alien landscapes, eldritch abominations, and sanity-shattering revelations to create a sense of existential dread and helplessness in the face of an uncaring cosmos. Effective cosmic horror writing requires a mastery of atmosphere and tone and the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to create a sense of mounting terror and despair.

Cyberpunk Writing 

Cyberpunk writing explores the relationship between technology and society in a dystopian future. This style of writing, which emerged in the 1980s with works such as William Gibson’s “Neuromancer,” often features a world where corporations have replaced governments, virtual reality has blurred the line between the real and the digital, and cybernetic enhancements have created new forms of social inequality. Cyberpunk writers use vivid descriptions of neon-lit cities, high-tech gadgets, and gritty, street-level characters to create a sense of a futuristic and troubled world. Effective cyberpunk writing requires a deep understanding of science fiction tropes and themes and the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to create a sense of immediacy and social commentary. If you love cyberpunk writing, you will love our 50 Cyberpunk writing prompts .

Diaspora Writing 

Diaspora writing reflects the experiences and identities of people displaced from their homeland. This style of writing often explores themes of exile, cultural identity, and the search for belonging, using the perspectives of immigrants, refugees, and other displaced people to create a sense of the complexity and diversity of the modern world. Diaspora writers may write in various genres, such as fiction, poetry, or memoir, using their experiences and communities to create deeply personal and broadly resonant works. Effective diaspora writing requires a deep understanding of the social, cultural, and historical contexts of displacement and the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to create a sense of empathy and connection with the reader.

Dialectical Writing: 

Dialectical writing presents opposing viewpoints or arguments for a synthesis or resolution. This style of writing, which has its roots in ancient Greek philosophy, involves dialogue, debate, and logical reasoning to explore complex ideas and arrive at a deeper understanding of the truth. Dialectical writers often present two or more characters with conflicting viewpoints, using their arguments and counterarguments to gradually build towards a new perspective that incorporates elements of both sides. Effective dialectical writing requires a deep understanding of the subject matter and the ability to use language and rhetorical techniques to create a sense of intellectual engagement and discovery.

Dramatic Writing: 

Dramatic writing involves creating scripts for the stage, often exploring severe themes and human emotions. Playwrights use this style of writing to craft powerful and thought-provoking stories that actors can perform in front of a live audience. Dramatic writing often delves into complex characters, relationships, and conflicts, using dialogue, action, and symbolism to convey meaning and evoke emotional responses from the audience. Effective dramatic writing requires a deep understanding of human nature and the ability to create compelling and believable characters and story lines.

Dystopian Writing: 

Dystopian writing imagines a bleak future society characterized by totalitarianism or environmental collapse. This style of writing, which has its roots in works such as George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” often features a world where individual freedom has been sacrificed for the sake of social stability, where technology has been used to control and oppress rather than liberate, and where the natural world has been destroyed or depleted. Dystopian writers use vivid descriptions of oppressive regimes, conformist societies, and environmental devastation to create a sense of warning and critique about the dangers of unchecked power and human hubris. Effective dystopian writing requires a deep understanding of social and political issues and the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to create a sense of urgency and cautionary tale. If your story lines lean into the end of the world, you might want to check out our 100 Dystopian writing prompts .

Copywriting: 

Copywriting creates persuasive content for advertising and marketing purposes. This writing style promotes products, services, and ideas, primarily convincing the target audience to take a specific action, such as purchasing, signing up for a service, or supporting a cause. Copywriters must deeply understand the target audience’s needs, desires, and pain points and use this knowledge to craft compelling messages that resonate with them. Effective copywriting is creative, concise, and emotionally engaging, using persuasive techniques such as storytelling, humor, and social proof to capture the audience’s attention and motivate them to act.

Creative Writing: 

Creative writing encompasses imaginative and original writing, often in a literary context. This writing style includes various genres, such as fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction, and allows the writer to express their unique voice, style, and perspective. Creative writing often explores themes, emotions, and the human experience, using literary devices and techniques to create engaging and thought-provoking works. The primary goal of creative writing is to entertain, inspire, or provoke the reader while showcasing the writer’s artistic skills and imagination. Creative writing can be found in novels, short stories, poems, plays, and screenplays, among other forms. We have over 1000 Creative Writing prompts on our site!

Descriptive Writing: 

Descriptive writing uses vivid language to describe people, places, objects, or experiences in great detail, creating a transparent and evocative picture in the reader’s mind. This writing style often employs sensory details, figurative language, and precise word choice to capture the essence of the subject being described. Descriptive writing can be found in various forms of literature, such as poetry, prose, and creative nonfiction, as well as in travel writing, nature writing, and product descriptions. The primary goal of descriptive writing is to help the reader visualize and experience the subject as if they were there, evoking emotions and creating a lasting impression.

Editorial Writing:

 Editorial writing presents a publication’s or editorial board’s opinion on a current issue or topic of public interest. It aims to inform, persuade, or call readers to action, often taking a solid stance on a particular subject. This writing style requires a deep understanding of the issue and the ability to present a well-reasoned and compelling argument. Effective editorial writing is clear, concise, and thought-provoking, offering a unique perspective or solution to the problem being addressed.

Environmental Writing: 

Environmental writing addresses ecological issues, nature, and the relationship between humans and the environment. This writing style is used by environmental journalists, activists, and nature writers to raise awareness about ecological problems, explore the beauty and complexity of the natural world, and advocate for conservation and sustainability. Environmental writing may include investigative reporting on issues such as climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, as well as personal essays and nature writing that celebrate the wonder and fragility of the earth. Effective environmental writing is informative and persuasive and inspires readers to take action to protect the planet.

Epistolary Writing: 

Epistolary writing tells a story or conveys information through letters, emails, or other forms of correspondence. This writing style allows the reader to experience the story through the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and interactions. Epistolary novels, such as “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, are famous examples of this style. Effective epistolary writing creates a sense of intimacy and authenticity as the reader becomes privy to the characters’ private lives and relationships.If you enjoy writing through letters you may enjoy 100 Epistolary Writing Prompts for Telling Stories Through Letters

Erotica Writing: 

Erotica’s writing depicts sexual experiences and desires in a literary or artistic manner. This style aims to arouse and engage readers by exploring sensuality, intimacy, and fantasy themes. Erotica writers often use descriptive language and imagery to create vivid and immersive scenes while developing compelling and relatable characters and relationships. Effective erotica writing requires a balance of explicitness and subtlety, as well as a deep understanding of human sexuality and desire.

Experimental Writing: 

Experimental writing pushes the boundaries of traditional forms and styles, often in an avant-garde manner. This writing style, which emerged in the early 20th century with movements such as Dadaism and Surrealism, usually uses unconventional or fragmented narrative structures, stream-of-consciousness techniques, and linguistic experimentation to create a sense of artistic innovation and challenge to the status quo. Experimental writers may write in various genres, such as poetry, fiction, or drama, using their creative vision and technical skills to create intellectually stimulating and emotionally provocative works. Effective experimental writing requires a willingness to take risks and break rules and the ability to use language and form in surprising and inventive ways.

Existential Writing

Existential writing grapples with questions of existence, meaning, and the human condition. This style of writing, which emerged in the 20th century with writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir, often explores themes of freedom, responsibility, and the absurdity of life, using fiction, philosophy, and personal reflection to create a sense of the individual’s struggle to find purpose and authenticity in a seemingly meaningless world. Existential writers may write in various genres, such as novels, plays, or essays, using their experiences and insights to create deeply introspective and broadly relevant works. Effective existential writing requires a willingness to confront the big questions of life head-on and the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to create a sense of intellectual and emotional engagement with the reader.

Expository Writing: 

Expository writing is a type of writing that aims to explain, inform, or describe a topic, idea, or process to the reader. The primary goal of expository writing is to convey information clearly and concisely without expressing personal opinions or biases. This writing style is commonly used in academic settings, such as textbooks, research papers, and essays, as well as in journalism, technical writing, and instructional materials. Expository writing often follows a logical structure, presenting information in a systematic and organized manner and using facts, examples, and definitions to support the main ideas.

Fanfiction Writing: 

Fanfiction writing involves creating new stories based on existing characters or settings from popular media, such as books, movies, TV shows, or video games. This writing style allows fans to explore alternative storylines, relationships, and possibilities not addressed in the source material. Fanfiction writers often use their knowledge of the original work to create stories that are both faithful to the established canon and innovative in their own right. Effective fanfiction writing requires a deep understanding of the source material and the ability to capture the voices and personalities of the characters.

Fantasy Writing:

 Fantasy writing involves creating stories set in imaginary worlds that often include magic, mythical creatures, and heroic quests. This writing style allows authors to explore themes and ideas that may not be possible in realistic settings, using world-building and character development to create immersive and compelling narratives. Fantasy writers often draw inspiration from mythology, folklore, and history, using these elements to create rich and detailed worlds that feel both familiar and new. Effective fantasy writing requires a strong imagination and the ability to create believable and consistent magic systems and world-building elements. If you enjoy fantasy writing we have many fantasy writing prompts on our sites, 50 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts , 100 dark fantasy writing prompts , 100 fantasy romance writing prompts , 100 fantasy romance writing prompts , 50 Fantasy Writing Prompts: Wizards and Dragons , and 50 fantasy writing prompts to inspire .

Fashion Writing: 

Fashion writing covers fashion trends, designers, and the fashion industry. This writing style is used by fashion journalists, bloggers, and critics to report on fashion shows, designer collections, and street style trends. Fashion writing may also include:

  • Profiles of fashion icons.
  • Opinion pieces on the cultural and social impact of fashion.
  • Guides on personal style and fashion advice.

Effective fashion writing is engaging, visually descriptive, and captures the creativity and dynamism of the fashion world.

Flash Fiction: 

Flash fiction is a concise form of storytelling, often under 1,000 words, that still manages to convey a complete narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. This writing style requires concision, precision, and a strong understanding of story structure and character development. Flash fiction writers must be able to create a compelling story, evoke emotions, and leave a lasting impact on the reader in a limited amount of space. Compelling flash fiction is often surprising, thought-provoking, and emotionally resonant, demonstrating the power of brevity in storytelling.

Food Writing: 

Food writing describes and critiques culinary experiences, recipes, and food culture. Food critics, bloggers, and culinary enthusiasts use this style of writing to explore the art and science of cooking, the history and cultural significance of various cuisines, and the personal and social aspects of food and dining. Food writing may include restaurant reviews, recipe guides, and essays on food-related topics such as sustainability, nutrition, and the food industry. Effective food writing is sensory and informative and conveys the joy and passion of culinary exploration.

Ghostwriting: 

Ghostwriting involves writing content officially credited to another person, often a public figure, celebrity, or expert in a particular field. Ghostwriters collaborate with their clients to capture their voices, ideas, and experiences and create written works that align with the client’s goals and intended audience. This writing style requires strong communication skills, adaptability, and maintaining confidentiality. Ghostwriters may work on various projects, such as memoirs, novels, articles, speeches, and social media content. Effective ghostwriting seamlessly blends the client’s vision with the writer’s skills, creating a final product that accurately represents the credited author.

Gothic Writing: 

Gothic writing is a style that evokes mystery, fear, and the supernatural in a dark, atmospheric setting. This type of writing often features eerie or haunted locations, dark family secrets, and characters grappling with internal conflicts or external threats. Gothic writers use descriptive language and imagery to create a sense of unease and foreboding, often exploring themes of death, decay, and the unknown. Effective Gothic writing requires a mastery of atmosphere and tone and the ability to create complex and psychologically compelling characters. If you like Gothic writing you might like our 100 gothic fiction writing prompts .

Grant Writing: 

Grant writing involves preparing proposals to secure funding for projects, programs, or organizations from government agencies, foundations, or other funding bodies. This writing style requires a clear understanding of the funding organization’s goals, priorities, and application requirements. Grant writers must effectively communicate the need for the proposed project, outline specific objectives and activities, and provide a compelling case for why the funding should be awarded. Effective grant writing is persuasive, well-organized, and strongly aligns with the proposed project and the funding organization’s mission.

Haiku is a Japanese poetic form consisting of three lines with a 5-7-5 syllable structure. This style of writing, which originated in the 17th century, often focuses on nature, seasons, and moments of epiphany or insight, using simple, concise language to create a sense of beauty, transience, and spiritual depth. Haiku writers use vivid sensory details and juxtaposition to create a sense of immediacy and connection with the natural world, often leaving room for the reader’s interpretation and reflection. Effective haiku requires a mastery of the form’s technical constraints and the ability to use language and imagery to create a sense of emotional resonance and universality.

Hard-Boiled Writing

Hard-boiled writing features tough, cynical characters in a gritty, crime-ridden setting. This style of writing, which emerged in the 1920s and 1930s with writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, often features a world where corruption and violence are the norm, where the line between right and wrong is blurred, and where the protagonist must navigate a treacherous landscape of double-crosses and moral ambiguity. Hard-boiled writers use vivid descriptions of seedy underworlds, fast-paced action, and snappy dialogue to create a sense of danger and excitement, often using the detective story as a vehicle for social commentary and critique. Effective hard-boiled writing requires a deep understanding of the genre’s conventions and themes and the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to create a sense of authenticity and raw, street-level realism.

Historical Writing: 

Historical writing investigates and interprets past events based on primary and secondary sources. Historians, scholars, and researchers use this writing style to analyze and explain the causes, consequences, and significance of historical events, figures, and movements. Historical writing may also involve exploring the social, cultural, and political contexts that shaped the past. Effective historical writing is well-researched, objective, and provides a compelling narrative that sheds new light on our understanding of history. If you like writing about history, you might find our 50 historical fiction writing prompts helpful.

Horror Writing: 

Horror writing aims to frighten and unsettle readers through suspenseful and disturbing content. This writing style often explores themes of fear, violence, and the supernatural, using vivid descriptions and plot twists to create a sense of dread and terror. Horror writers may draw inspiration from real-life fears and phobias and classic horror tropes and archetypes. Effective horror writing requires a deep understanding of what scares people and the ability to create believable and terrifying scenarios that linger in the reader’s mind long after the story ends. If you like horror you are in the right place, we have 100s of horror writing prompts to spark your creativity like: Daily horror writing prompts, 50 Lovecraftian horror writing prompts , 50 Horror Writing Prompts from Different Points of View , 365 Horrifying Horror Writing Prompts , 100 Vampire, Werewolf, Witch and Ghost Writing Prompts , 100 survival horror writing prompts, and 10 Horrifying Horror Story Prompts . We have many more articles and lists dealing with horror on our site.

Hypertext Writing

Hypertext writing uses hyperlinks to create non-linear, interactive narratives. This writing style, which emerged in the late 20th century with the rise of digital media, allows readers to navigate through a story or informational text non-sequentially, following links and pathways that reflect their interests and choices. Hypertext writers use branching storylines, multimedia elements, and user interactivity to create a sense of immersion and agency for the reader, often blurring the line between author and audience. Effective hypertext writing requires a deep understanding of digital storytelling techniques, user experience design, and creating compelling and coherent narratives that can be explored in multiple ways.

Invective Writing

Invective writing expresses strong criticism or verbal abuse towards a person or group. This style of writing, which has its roots in ancient Greek and Roman oratory, often uses harsh language, personal attacks, and rhetorical flourishes to denounce or discredit an opponent, often in a political or social context. Invective writers may use sarcasm, irony, and hyperbole to create a sense of moral outrage or righteous anger, usually appealing to the reader’s emotions and sense of justice. Effective invective writing requires a mastery of rhetorical techniques, a keen understanding of the audience’s values and beliefs, and the ability to use language and argument to create a sense of urgency and call to action.

Inspirational Writing: 

Inspirational writing aims to uplift, encourage, and motivate readers. This writing style is used by motivational speakers, religious leaders, and self-help authors to provide guidance and support for personal and spiritual growth. Inspirational writing may include stories of overcoming adversity, quotes and affirmations, and practical advice for living a more fulfilling life. Effective, inspirational writing is empowering and compassionate and helps readers find meaning and purpose.

Journalistic Writing: 

Journalistic writing reports on news, events, and issues objectively and truthfully. This writing style is used in newspapers, magazines, and online media outlets to inform the public about current affairs, politics, entertainment, sports, and other topics of interest. Journalistic writing follows a specific structure, often using the inverted pyramid format, which presents the most critical information first and gradually provides more details and background information. Journalists must adhere to ethical standards, such as accuracy, fairness, and impartiality, and verify their sources and facts before publishing their work. Effective journalistic writing is clear, concise, and engaging, capturing the reader’s attention and conveying the essential information quickly and efficiently.

Legal Writing: 

Legal writing involves drafting legal documents, such as contracts, briefs, or opinions, and presenting arguments precisely and persuasively. This writing style requires a deep understanding of legal principles, case law, and statutory requirements and the ability to analyze complex legal issues and communicate them effectively to legal professionals and lay audiences. Effective legal writing is well-structured, thoroughly researched, and adheres to the legal field’s conventions and formatting requirements.

Lyrical Writing: 

Lyrical writing employs poetic and melodic language to evoke emotions and imagery. This style of writing, which is often associated with poetry and songwriting, uses techniques such as rhyme, meter, and figurative language to create a sense of musicality and rhythm in the text. Lyrical writers often focus on themes of love, nature, and the human experience, using sensory details and symbolic imagery to create a sense of beauty, intimacy, and emotional depth. Effective lyrical writing requires a mastery of poetic techniques, a keen ear for language, and the ability to use words and phrases to create a sense of melody and harmony on the page.

Magical Realism Writing: 

Magical realism writing incorporates fantastical elements into an otherwise realistic setting. This style of writing, which emerged in Latin American literature in the mid-20th century, often features supernatural or mythical events and characters that are treated as a natural part of the everyday world, frequently used to explore themes of cultural identity, political oppression, and the blurring of boundaries between the real and the imaginary. Magical realist writers use vivid descriptions of the natural and the supernatural to create a sense of wonder and enchantment, often leaving the reader questioning the nature of reality. Effective magical realism writing requires a deep understanding of the genre’s conventions and themes and the ability to use language and storytelling techniques to integrate the mundane and the miraculous seamlessly. If you like magical realism you might want to check out our Spellbinding 100 Magical Realism Prompts .

Medical Writing: 

Medical writing involves communicating medical and health-related information to various audiences, such as healthcare professionals, patients, or the general public. This writing style covers multiple topics, from clinical research and drug development to patient education and health journalism. Medical writers must have a strong understanding of medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, and the latest advancements in healthcare. Effective medical writing is accurate, precise, and tailored to the target audience’s specific needs and knowledge level, ensuring that complex medical information is conveyed in an accessible and engaging manner.

Memoir Writing: 

Memoir writing is a form of autobiographical writing that recounts specific experiences, events, or periods in the author’s life. Unlike an autobiography, which typically covers the author’s life, a memoir focuses on a particular theme, relationship, or period of personal growth. Memoirists often reflect on their experiences, share lessons learned, and explore the broader implications of their individual stories. Effective memoir writing is honest, reflective, and emotionally engaging, allowing the reader to connect with the author’s experiences and gain new insights into the human condition.

Metafiction Writing: 

Metafiction writing self-consciously addresses the conventions and artificiality of storytelling. This writing style often breaks the fourth wall, directly acknowledging the reader and the fictional nature of the narrative. Metafictional works may include self-referential elements, such as characters who are aware they are in a story or plot devices that are openly discussed and manipulated. Metafiction challenges traditional narrative structures by exposing storytelling mechanics and encourages readers to reflect on the relationship between fiction and reality. Effective metafiction writing requires a deep understanding of literary conventions, a willingness to subvert them, and the ability to create engaging stories that operate on multiple levels of meaning.

Minimalist Writing: 

Minimalist writing uses simple, sparse language and focuses on the essential elements of the story. This writing style, which emerged in the mid-20th century with writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver, often features short sentences, limited descriptions, and a focus on action and dialogue rather than introspection or exposition. Minimalist writers aim to convey the most meaning with the fewest words possible, trusting the reader to fill in the gaps and interpret the subtext. Effective minimalist writing requires a mastery of concision and precision and the ability to create compelling characters and storylines using only the most essential details.

Motivational Writing: 

Motivational writing encourages readers to take action and pursue their goals. Life coaches, business leaders, and success experts use this writing style to provide strategies and techniques for overcoming obstacles, building confidence, and achieving success. Motivational writing may include case studies, personal anecdotes, and practical exercises for setting and achieving goals. Effective motivational writing is energizing and action-oriented and helps readers develop the mindset and skills needed to succeed.

Mystery Writing: 

Mystery writing revolves around a crime or puzzle that the protagonist must solve. This writing style often features a detective or amateur sleuth who uses observation and deduction skills to uncover clues and piece together the truth. Mystery writers use suspense, red herrings, and plot twists to keep readers guessing until the final reveal. Effective mystery writing requires careful plotting and pacing and creating complex, believable characters with hidden motives and secrets.We have lots of support for mystery writing on our site including 50 mystery whodunit writing prompts.

Narrative Writing: 

Narrative writing tells a story, usually with a clear beginning, middle, and end. This writing style often involves a plot, characters, and a setting and may be based on real-life events or entirely fictional. Narrative writing aims to engage the reader by creating an immersive experience, using descriptive language, dialogue, and sensory details to bring the story to life. Common examples of narrative writing include novels, short stories, memoirs, and personal essays. A well-crafted narrative often consists of a conflict or challenge the main character must overcome, leading to a resolution or change in the character’s life.

Noir Writing: 

Noir writing depicts a dark, morally ambiguous world, often in a detective or crime story. This writing style, which emerged in the mid-20th century with writers such as Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain, usually features cynical, world-weary protagonists who navigate a shadowy underworld of corruption, deceit, and violence. Noir writers use vivid descriptions of urban decay, complex plotlines, and snappy, often sarcastic dialogue to create a sense of atmosphere and moral ambiguity. Effective noir writing requires a deep understanding of the genre’s conventions and themes and the ability to create complex, flawed characters and intricate, suspenseful storylines. Noir is such a great writing style/genre, check out our 150 tech noir writing prompts .

Op-Ed Writing: 

Op-ed writing, short for “opposite the editorial page,” expresses a personal opinion on a current issue, often in a newspaper or magazine. Unlike editorials representing a publication’s official stance, op-eds are authored by individual writers, experts, or public figures. This writing style allows for diverse perspectives and often sparks public debate or discussion on important topics. Effective op-ed writing is persuasive, well-informed, and offers a fresh or provocative take.

Paranormal Writing:

 Paranormal writing features supernatural or inexplicable phenomena in a realistic setting. This writing style often explores themes of ghosts, psychic abilities, and otherworldly creatures, using a blend of horror, mystery, and fantasy elements to create eerie and atmospheric stories. Paranormal writers often use their stories to explore deeper themes of life, death, and the nature of reality. Effective paranormal writing requires a balance of realism and the supernatural and the ability to create compelling characters grappling with extraordinary circumstances.  We love the paranormal around here, and you might like our 50 paranormal romance story starters or 100 Paranormal Fantasy Writing Prompts .

Pastoral Writing: 

Pastoral writing celebrates rural life and landscapes, often in an idealized or nostalgic manner. This style of writing, which has its roots in ancient Greek and Roman literature, usually features descriptions of rural settings, such as rolling hills, babbling brooks, and peaceful meadows, as well as characters who live in harmony with nature. Pastoral writers often use their works to contrast the simplicity and beauty of rural life with the corruption and complexity of urban society, sometimes as a form of social commentary or critique. Effective pastoral writing requires a deep appreciation for the natural world and an ability to evoke a sense of place and atmosphere through vivid, sensory descriptions.

Persuasive Writing: 

Persuasive writing aims to convince the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. This writing style presents arguments, evidence, and reasoning to support a position or claim while addressing and refuting potential counterarguments. Persuasive writing is commonly used in opinion pieces, editorials, advertisements, and political speeches. Effective, compelling writing must be well-researched, logically structured, and emotionally appealing to the target audience. The writer may use rhetorical devices, such as ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic), to strengthen their arguments and persuade the reader.

Philosophical Writing: 

Philosophical writing examines fundamental questions and ideas about knowledge, reality, and existence. Philosophers and thinkers use this writing style to explore abstract concepts, challenge assumptions, and propose new ways of understanding the world. Philosophical writing often involves constructing logical arguments, analyzing existing theories, and engaging in critical thinking. Effective philosophical writing is clear, precise, rigorous, and open to multiple perspectives and interpretations.

Picaresque Writing: 

Picaresque’s writing follows a mischievous hero’s adventures in an episodic, often satirical narrative. This style of writing, which originated in 16th-century Spain with works such as “Lazarillo de Tormes,” usually features a low-born, morally ambiguous protagonist who moves from one adventure to another, often as a means of social critique or commentary. Picaresque writers use humor, irony, and a sense of the absurd to create an understanding of the protagonist’s outsider status and the inherent flaws and defects of the society they move through. Effective picaresque writing requires a mastery of episodic storytelling, a keen eye for social satire, and the ability to create a compelling if not always likable, central character.

Poetry is a form of creative writing that uses language artistically to evoke emotions, ideas, or experiences. Poets employ various literary devices, such as metaphor, simile, alliteration, and rhyme, to create vivid imagery, convey deeper meanings, and explore universal themes. Poetry can take many forms, from traditional structures like sonnets and haikus to free verse and experimental styles. The primary goal of poetry is to express the poet’s unique perspective and evoke an emotional response from the reader. Compelling poetry is often concise yet powerful, using carefully chosen words and phrases to create a lasting impact. Please also see our 50 Poetry Writing Prompts Every Writer should try .

Political Writing: 

Political writing discusses political issues, policies, and events from various perspectives. Journalists, commentators, and political analysts use this writing style to report on elections, legislation, and international relations and provide opinions and analysis on political topics. Political writing may include speeches, manifestos, and policy papers by politicians and advocacy groups. Effective political writing is well-informed and objective and engages with the complexities and controversies of the political landscape.

Review Writing: 

Review writing involves evaluating and critically assessing a product, service, or work of art, such as a book, movie, restaurant, or consumer item. Reviewers provide their informed opinions, highlighting the subject’s strengths and weaknesses. This style of writing requires a deep understanding of the relevant industry or field and the ability to analyze and articulate the key aspects that contribute to the overall quality or value of the subject. Effective review writing is objective, well-reasoned, and provides valuable insights to help readers make informed decisions.

Romance Writing: 

Romance writing focuses on the development of a romantic relationship between characters. This writing style often explores themes of love, desire, and commitment, using obstacles and conflicts to test the strength of the central relationship. Romance writers may write in various subgenres, such as historical romance, contemporary romance, or paranormal romance, each with unique conventions and tropes. Effective romance writing requires a deep understanding of human relationships and emotions and the ability to create compelling and likable characters for which readers can root.

Satirical Writing: 

Satirical writing uses humor, irony, or exaggeration to criticize or comment on society, individuals, or institutions. This writing style aims to expose and ridicule human vices, follies, and absurdities, often to promote social or political change. Satirical writing can take many forms, such as essays, novels, plays, and cartoons, and usually requires a deep understanding of the subject matter being satirized. Effective satirical writing is witty, clever, and thought-provoking, using humor to highlight serious issues and encourage the audience to question the status quo.

Script writing: 

Script writing involves creating scripts for various forms of visual media, such as films, television shows, plays, and video games. This writing style requires a unique format that includes scene descriptions, character dialogues, and stage directions. Scriptwriters must have a strong understanding of storytelling techniques, character development, and visual storytelling. They collaborate with directors, producers, and other creative professionals to bring their scripts to life on screen or stage. Effective scriptwriting creates engaging and memorable stories, compelling characters, and vivid scenes that captivate the audience.

Science Fiction Writing: 

Science fiction writing speculates about future technologies, societies, and scientific discoveries. This writing style often explores themes of space exploration, time travel, artificial intelligence, and dystopian futures, using imaginative world-building and technical detail to create believable and thought-provoking stories. Science fiction writers may draw inspiration from current scientific research and theories and classic science fiction tropes and archetypes. Effective science fiction writing requires a balance of creativity and scientific plausibility and the ability to create compelling characters and storylines that explore the human condition in a futuristic setting.

Scientific Writing: 

Scientific writing presents research findings, hypotheses, and scientific information in a structured, technical style. This writing style is used in academic journals, research papers, and grant proposals and requires a clear understanding of the scientific method, data analysis, and the relevant field of study. Scientific writers must effectively communicate complex ideas, methods, and results, using precise language and visual aids, such as graphs and charts, to support their findings. Effective scientific writing is objective, well-organized, and contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Self-Help Writing: 

Self-help writing provides advice and guidance for personal growth and improvement. This writing style is used by self-help authors, life coaches, and mental health professionals to offer strategies and techniques for overcoming challenges, achieving goals, and improving overall well-being. Self-help writing may cover many topics, such as relationships, career development, stress management, and spiritual growth. Effective self-help writing is practical and empowering, offering readers concrete tools and insights for creating positive change in their lives.

Social Commentary Writing: 

Social commentary writing offers observations and opinions on social issues and cultural phenomena. Essayists, columnists, and cultural critics use this style of writing to analyze and critique various aspects of society, such as race, gender, class, and popular culture. Social commentary writing may include personal reflections and stories illuminating more significant social issues. Effective social commentary writing is insightful and thought-provoking, challenging readers to examine their beliefs and assumptions about the world.

Speech writing: 

Speech writing involves crafting speeches for public figures, such as politicians, business leaders, or activists, tailored to the specific speaker and audience. This writing style requires a deep understanding of the speaker’s voice, style, objectives, and the audience’s expectations and concerns. Speechwriters must effectively convey the speaker’s message, using rhetorical devices, storytelling, and persuasive arguments to engage and influence the audience. Effective speech writing is clear, concise, and memorable, leaving a lasting impact on the listeners.

Sports Writing: 

Sports writing reports on and analyzes sports events, athletes, and related issues. Journalists, bloggers, and commentators use this style of writing to cover a wide range of sports, from amateur leagues to professional competitions. Sports writing may include game recaps, player profiles, opinion pieces, and investigative reporting on doping, corruption, and social justice in sports. Effective sports writing is engaging and informative and captures the excitement and drama of athletic competition.

Stream of Consciousness Writing: 

Stream-of-consciousness writing presents a character’s continuous flow of thoughts, impressions, and experiences without traditional narrative structure or punctuation constraints. This writing style aims to capture the inner workings of a character’s mind, often in a non-linear or fragmented manner. Famous examples of stream-of-consciousness writing include James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway.” Effective stream-of-consciousness writing creates a sense of immediacy and psychological depth, allowing the reader to experience the character’s thoughts and emotions raw and unfiltered.

Technical Writing:

 Technical writing communicates complex information clearly and concisely to a specific audience. This writing style is used in various industries, such as engineering, computer science, and healthcare, to create user manuals, product specifications, software documentation, and other instructional materials. Technical writers must have a deep understanding of the subject matter and be able to explain complex concepts and processes in a way that is accessible to the intended audience. Effective technical writing is well-structured, uses precise language and terminology, and often includes visual aids, such as diagrams, charts, and images, to support the text and enhance understanding.

Theological Writing: 

Theological writing explores religious beliefs, practices, and spiritual ideas in a scholarly or reflective manner. Theologians, religious scholars, and spiritual leaders often use this writing style to analyze and interpret religious texts, doctrines, and traditions. Theological writing may also include personal reflections on faith, spirituality, and the human experience. Effective theological writing is well-researched and thoughtful and engages with the complexities and nuances of religious thought while remaining accessible to the intended audience.

Travel Writing: 

Travel writing describes a traveler’s experiences, observations, and recommendations for visiting a particular destination or embarking on a journey. This writing style aims to transport the reader to the described location, providing vivid details about the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations encountered along the way. Travel writers often share their insights, historical and cultural context, and practical advice for other travelers. Effective travel writing is engaging, informative, and evocative, inspiring readers to explore new places and gain a deeper appreciation for the world around them.

Thriller Writing: 

Thriller writing creates intense suspense and excitement, often in a high-stakes plot. This writing style usually features a race against time, a dangerous villain, and a protagonist who must use their skills and cunning to survive. Thriller writers use fast pacing, plot twists, and cliffhangers to keep readers in their seats. Effective thriller writing requires a mastery of suspense and tension and the ability to create complex and morally ambiguous characters.

Western Writing: 

Western writing is set in the American Old West, often featuring cowboys, outlaws, and frontier life. This writing style frequently explores themes of honor, justice, and the struggle between civilization and wilderness. Western writers use vivid descriptions of the rugged landscape and colorful characters to create a sense of place and time. Effective Western writing requires a deep understanding of the historical and cultural context of the American West, as well as the ability to create compelling and archetypal characters.

Young Adult Writing: 

Young adult writing targets readers aged 12-18 and often deals with coming-of-age themes. This writing style usually features teenage protagonists grappling with issues of identity, relationships, and the transition from childhood to adulthood. Young adult writers may write in genres such as fantasy, science fiction, or contemporary realism, using relatable characters and engaging storylines to connect with their audience. Effective young adult writing requires a deep understanding of the concerns and experiences of teenagers, as well as the ability to create authentic and compelling characters and story lines.

In conclusion, this comprehensive guide has provided a detailed exploration of the diverse and fascinating world of writing styles. From the classical to the contemporary, from the informative to the imaginative, each style represents a unique approach to the art of written expression, with its purpose, techniques, and impact on the reader.

Throughout this guide, we have examined the key characteristics and examples of dozens of writing styles, ranging from the concise and precise methods of technical and journalistic writing to the evocative and experimental forms of poetry and absurdist writing. We have also discussed the importance of choosing the appropriate style for your purpose and audience and how the right choice can enhance your work’s clarity, credibility, emotional resonance, and artistic merit.

However, it is essential to remember that mastering these writing styles is not simply memorizing rules and formulas. Instead, it is an ongoing exploration, experimentation, and growth process as you develop your unique voice and perspective as a writer. By studying the works of great authors and practitioners of each style and constantly challenging yourself to try new approaches and techniques, you can continue expanding your writing skills and creativity.

Moreover, in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the ability to adapt and innovate with different writing styles has become more critical than ever. With the proliferation of new media platforms and technologies, writers must be able to craft compelling content across a wide range of formats and channels, from social media posts and blog articles to interactive narratives and immersive storytelling experiences. By deeply understanding the various writing styles and their potential applications, you can position yourself at the forefront of this exciting and transformative era in written communication.

As we conclude this definitive guide to writing styles, we encourage you to embrace the richness and diversity of the written word and continue exploring and experimenting with different approaches and techniques in your writing. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a passionate amateur, a poet or a programmer, a journalist or a novelist, the power to express yourself effectively and creatively through writing is one of our greatest gifts and responsibilities as communicators and storytellers. By mastering the art of writing styles, you can enhance your skills and impact as a writer and contribute to the ongoing evolution and vitality of the written word as a medium for human understanding, imagination, and connection.

Related Posts:

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About Richard

Richard Everywriter (pen name) has worked for literary magazines and literary websites for the last 25 years. He holds degrees in Writing, Journalism, Technology and Education. Richard has headed many writing workshops and courses, and he has taught writing and literature for the last 20 years.  

In writing and publishing he has worked with independent, small, medium and large publishers for years connecting publishers to authors. He has also worked as a journalist and editor in both magazine, newspaper and trade publications as well as in the medical publishing industry.   Follow him on Twitter, and check out our Submissions page .

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There are 4 Types of Writing Styles. Here’s How to Develop Your Own

writing styles used by authors

Expl ore the four writing styles, discover the nuances of each, and use these tips to craft your own.

By Natasha Khullar Relph

Your writing style is a powerful tool for telling a story uniquely. It’s your creative fingerprint, showcasing your personality and unique form of expression. From the words you choose to the rhythm of your sentences, writing style is all about how you put things together. It sets you apart and creates connection, making your reader feel like they’re right there with you, experiencing your story. But what exactly constitutes writing style?

JUMP TO SECTION

What constitutes writing style? The difference between voice and writing style Types of writing styles

  • Expository writing style
  • Descriptive writing style
  • Persuasive writing style
  • Narrative writing style

How to develop your own writing style

What constitutes writing style.

When we talk about writing style, we’re basically talking about the various elements that collectively shape how you express yourself. These elements include:

  • Word choice: Selecting the right words that convey your tone, mood, and intended meaning.
  • Sentence structure: Think of this as the beat of the writing—the length, the complexity, and the rhythm, shaping how smoothly the words flow.
  • Punctuation and grammar: The use of punctuation and grammar rules, which helps in clarity and emphasis within the writing.
  • Narrative structure: How the story’s laid out —flashbacks, foreshadowing, or straight-up linear storytelling.
  • Imagery and descriptions: The use of vivid descriptions and imagery that evoke sensory experiences in the reader’s mind.
  • Dialogue and speech patterns: Making characters talk in a way that’s real, reflecting their personalities and keeping it authentic.
  • Figurative language: Bringing in metaphors and similes for that extra flair, adding depth and color to the writing.
  • Point of view: How you tell the story—first-person, third-person, or omniscient.
  • Cultural and contextual influences: What cultural, historical, or societal contexts do you reference that influence the language and themes?
  • Syntax: Playing around with word order in sentences, arranging them to give the writing a certain rhythm and impact.
  • Economy and concision: Saying what needs to be said by avoiding unnecessary or verbose language.
  • Context and purpose: Thinking about the big picture and the intended purpose of the writing, which influences both your style and your content.

The difference between voice and writing style

When it comes to writing skills, the two essential components are writing style and voice. They’re the dynamic duo of expression, each bringing something to the table.

Writing style deals with the technical side of things. Nuts and bolts like word choice, sentence structure, punctuation, and overall presentation. It acts as the framework, determining how a story is crafted. Style sets the tone, controls the narrative rhythm, and influences how information is conveyed.

Voice is the personality in the mix. It’s the author’s unique flavor, the “who” behind the words. It’s about attitude and individuality, making your writing recognizable even without a name attached. Voice encompasses tone, authenticity, and the emotional connection with the reader.

So, in a nutshell, writing style is the how-to of writing, the shaping of the story, while voice is the author’s personal stamp, making their writing stand out.

Types of writing styles

Think of writing styles as the artist’s palette for crafting narratives and delivering messages. Knowing these different styles of writing empowers you to play with language—whether it’s to inform, persuade, describe, or whisk readers away into captivating tales.

The main types of writing styles include:

1. Expository writing style

Expository writing is a form of writing that focuses on delivering information, explaining concepts, or presenting ideas in a clear, concise manner. It aims to inform or educate the audience on a particular topic, and is often devoid of personal opinions, emotions, or biases. Expository writing relies on facts, evidence, and logical explanations to convey the intended message.

This style is commonly found in textbooks, reports, essays, and articles, where the primary goal is to explain complex subjects or ideas.

Examples of expository writing include:

Textbooks/Academic writing

Academic writing, including textbooks, academic papers, and research papers, adopts an expository style to present factual information, theories, or research findings in a structured and informative manner. It focuses on providing evidence-based insights to educate readers.

How-to articles

How-to articles employ expository writing to explain step-by-step processes or instructions, guiding readers on completing tasks or acquiring new skills in a clear, logical manner.

In the culinary world, recipes use expository writing by providing precise instructions and ingredient lists in a clear format, enabling readers to replicate specific dishes accurately.

News stories or news articles

News articles and journalistic writing commonly employ an objective tone to present information straightforwardly and keep readers informed about current events. They achieve this through the use of facts, interviews, and research. For example, American journalistic styles (including newspapers such as The New York Times or the Washington Post) adhere to specific conventions and citation practices, ensuring accuracy and objectivity in any piece of writing.

Business writing

Expository writing in a business context involves clear, concise communication in memos, reports, or emails. It aims to convey information, instructions, or proposals to colleagues, clients, or stakeholders with precision and clarity.

Technical writing

Technical documents, manuals, or guides use an expository style to explain complex technical concepts or procedures to users or consumers. This writing style prioritizes clarity and comprehensibility in conveying technical information.

Scientific writing

Scientific writing follows an expository approach by presenting research findings, hypotheses, or experimental data in a systematic, evidence-based manner. It emphasizes objectivity, precision, and clarity to communicate scientific concepts to peers and the broader scientific community.

2. Descriptive writing style

Descriptive writing captivates readers by skillfully portraying scenes, events, or experiences through vivid sensory details, evocative language, and rich imagery. Its goal is to craft a detailed and immersive picture in the reader’s mind, employing sensory descriptions, figurative language, and precise details to evoke emotions, establish atmosphere, and engage the reader’s senses.

This writing style effectively appeals to the imagination, capturing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures to create a vivid and immersive reading experience.

Examples of descriptive writing include:

Descriptive writing flourishes in poetry, where vivid imagery, sensory details, and figurative language create evocative verses. Poets use descriptive elements to paint vivid pictures or express emotions through metaphorical language and sensory descriptions.

Journal or diary writing

In personal journals or diaries, descriptive writing captures personal experiences, feelings, and observations. It often employs vivid descriptions and detailed accounts to convey thoughts, emotions, and personal reflections. This writing style is also commonly found in personal essays .

Descriptions of nature

Nature writing extensively utilizes descriptive language to depict landscapes, environments, and natural phenomena. It immerses readers in the beauty of nature through vivid and sensory-rich descriptions.

Fiction writing or script writing

Descriptive writing serves a pivotal role in the realm of fiction, encompassing fictional novels, plays, screenwriting, and scripts. This style plays a key role in constructing immersive worlds and storylines, breathing life into characters, and crafting captivating scenes.

3. Persuasive writing style

Persuasive writing is often a formal writing style that aims to sway or convince the audience to adopt a particular viewpoint, take a specific action, or agree with a particular argument. It employs various techniques and strategies, including logical reasoning, emotional appeal, evidence, and persuasive language to influence the reader’s opinions or behavior.

This style often presents a strong and compelling argument while acknowledging and counteracting opposing views, aiming to create a convincing narrative.

Persuasive writing is commonly found in editorials, advertisements, speeches, and personal opinion pieces.

Examples of persuasive writing style include:

Cover letters

In job applications, cover letters utilize persuasive writing to highlight skills, qualifications, and experiences to convince employers of a candidate’s suitability for a position.

Copywriting

Copywriting in marketing and advertising employs persuasive language to influence consumer behavior, encouraging them to buy products or services by emphasizing benefits, solving problems, or creating desire.

Op-eds and opinion pieces

Op-eds and opinion pieces use persuasive writing to present personal viewpoints or arguments on societal issues, aiming to sway public opinion or prompt action.

Product reviews

Review writing incorporates persuasive elements to convince readers of a product’s merits or drawbacks, guiding purchasing decisions through detailed evaluations.

Letters of recommendation

Written in a persuasive style, letters of recommendation aim to advocate for an individual’s abilities, character, or qualifications to support their applications or endeavors.

Social media posts

Social media content often uses persuasive writing to engage and influence audiences, encouraging actions such as likes, shares, or purchases through persuasive language, visuals, or emotional appeals.

4. Narrative writing style

Narrative writing is a style that focuses on storytelling, weaving a sequence of events, characters, settings, and conflicts to create a cohesive and engaging narrative. It often follows a structured plot , including a beginning, middle, and end, and may incorporate various literary devices like dialogue, characterization, and descriptive language to captivate readers.

This style aims to entertain, inform, or engage the audience by immersing them in a compelling storyline, whether in fiction, non-fiction, novels, short stories, or memoirs. Narrative writing transports readers to different worlds, emotions, and experiences through its storytelling techniques.

Examples of narrative writing style include:

Oral histories

Narrative writing often involves recounting personal experiences, anecdotes, or oral histories that convey events, emotions, and insights from one’s life or others’, aiming to preserve stories and pass down knowledge through storytelling.

Novels or novellas

Long-form narrative writing appears in novels and novellas, presenting intricate plots, developed characters, and immersive worlds.

Some narrative writing is expressed through poetry, especially in epic sagas or narrative poems, using poetic devices such as rhythm, meter, and vivid imagery.

Short Stories

Narrative writing takes concise forms in short stories, delivering complete, engaging narratives within a shorter framework, often focusing on a specific event, character, or theme.

Creative writing

Narrative writing is at the core of creative writing, encompassing a broad range of imaginative and expressive writing forms, such as fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction.

Anecdotes, brief narratives or accounts, are used in various contexts to illustrate a point, entertain, or provide examples, drawing on storytelling techniques to engage audiences and convey a specific message or experience. Autobiographies and memoirs are a good example of this style of writing.

Here are some practical steps to help you develop your own writing style and enhance your voice and creativity:

  • Explore widely: Read a variety of genres, authors, and writing styles. See how famous authors employ different types of writing styles and writing techniques to connect with their target audience.
  • Write regularly: Make writing a habit. Experiment with styles, tones, and topics. Discover what works for you and for your readers. It’s all about finding your own unique style through consistent practice.
  • Find your voice: Be you. Write in a way that feels like home. Let your personality, thoughts, and experiences shine through. Your writing becomes uniquely yours when it’s authentically you.
  • Experiment fearlessly: Don’t play it safe! In the beginning, you need to try out new stuff. Write for different purposes and audiences. Play around with your written words and be unafraid to change them. And while yes, you want to learn from the myriad of writing tips available, don’t be afraid to go against the grain (yes, you can use adverbs if you know what you’re doing!) English is an incredible language with a variety of tools. Use them!
  • Identity influences: Who are the writers who speak to you? Figure out what makes their writing pop, and sprinkle a bit of that magic into your own writing.
  • Trust the process: Crafting your unique style is a journey. It takes time and patience. Keep at it, and trust that your voice will find its way.

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Writing Styles

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Your audience and writing purpose will determine your writing style. The four main types of writing styles are persuasive, narrative, expository, and descriptive.  In this blog post, we’ll briefly explore the defining features of these four writing styles. For more help using these writing styles, schedule an appointment at the GWC!

Persuasive:  For this writing style, the writer is trying to convince the reader of the validity of a certain position or argument. Persuasive writing includes the writers’ opinions, and provides justifications and evidence to support their claims.

Examples: Letters of recommendation; cover letters; Op-Eds and Editorial newspaper articles; argumentative essays for academic papers

Narrative:  Often seen in longer writing samples, the purpose of this writing style is to share information in the context of a story. Narratives should include characters, conflicts, and settings.

Examples: Short stories; novels; poetry; historical accounts 

Expository: This type of writing is used to explain a concept and share information to a broader audience. Expository writing provides evidence, statistics, or results and focuses on the facts of a certain topic. This type is not meant to express opinions.

Examples: How-to articles; textbooks; news stories (not editorials or Op-Eds); business, technical, or scientific writing

Descriptive: This type of writing is used to depict imagery to create a clear picture in the mind of the reader. This method helps the readers become more connected to the writing by appealing to their senses. Descriptive writing employs literary techniques such as similes, metaphors, allegory, etc to engage the audience.

Examples: Poetry; fictional novels or plays; memoirs or first-hand accounts of events

*This post was adapted from “Types of Writing Styles” by Robin Jeffrey.

Blog post prepared by Danielle Perry, GWC tutor. Published January 27, 2020.

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4 Types of Writing Styles and How to Use Them

4 Types of Writing Styles and How to Use Them

The voice and tone a writer chooses to tell a tale or express a concept are referred to as writing style. A knowledge of various writing styles is an attribute that many writers need. This is because only one approach to writing is not enough to convey your message to readers. You will need many styles, and you will need to master each and every one of them.

To get you started, there are around four basic writing styles that you should take note of. Each one of these writing styles is meant to have a different tone, and should be used for specific circumstances.

By learning of these writing styles, you will be able to enhance your writing technique to new heights. This article will open you to the four basic writing styles, and further strengthen your foundation as a writer.

1. Narrative writing

This type of writing style is best used for story writing. As the name implies, you are supposed to create a narrative that will draw your readers into your story. This writing style is commonly used in content where storytelling is key. Some examples of this type of content are screenplays, memoirs, short stories, long stories, novels, and novelettes.

How to use narrative writing

If you are going to use the narrative style of writing, you should make sure that you are as systematic as possible. Remember that narrative writing requires you to tell an entire story. The story should include a beginning, middle, and end. Your main goal should be to entice potential readers to read your story. You could also use literary tools such as foreshadowing and flashbacks.

When to use narrative writing

While you could use narrative writing for most types of content, it is especially useful for content such as screenplays, memoirs, short stories, long stories, novels, and novelettes. Narrative writing is perfect for these types of content because you are required to take your time and narrate the story to your readers with as much care and detail as much as possible.

“I felt old. Again. It had been happening a lot lately. I did not live the life of an old lady, but I could hear it beckoning to me, like a mermaid on a rock.”

— Michelle Tea, Paris: A Lie

“Inching into the room, it’s clear something is wrong here. There’s a tingling sensation up my legs and back before I can even really focus on the parlor’s details. There are silhouettes of people, but I can see through them. It’s like shadows were cast and left behind to do as they please. Lost in the surreal sight of them for a moment, I inch further into the room without noticing that some were now moving behind me.

There is no warning. I’m suddenly in the air, and moving backward rapidly toward the wall. It’s almost a full second before my body registers the actual pain of the blow my stomach just took. Being hit by a car doesn't even compare to this, and I didn't even see it coming.

“For a shadow, you hit like a sledgehammer!” The words barely escape before something else slams into the base of my skull embedding most of my upper body in the wall and all but removing my head. These things are like Lucy; the disembodied dead who haven’t moved on. I've never met others that can actually touch things physically, they must be fairly potent.

I pull my face out of the hole it had been planted in, letting plaster dust fall, coating my chest and legs like snow. Looking around quickly I try to gauge my surroundings. I can’t see them, but I know they’re there. Is one easy night, without a huge dry-cleaning bill, too much to ask for these days?

I only have time to dwell on it a moment before my head is bouncing off the hardwood floor; once, twice, and then a third time in quick succession. Now ‘pick splinters out of my forehead’ can be added to my Saturday night to-do list. Damn it, this is not going as planned.”

― Dennis Sharpe, Blood & Spirits

2. Descriptive writing

This writing style is meant to be as descriptive as possible. It is usually used in autobiographies and biographies. When it comes to writing in the descriptive style, your main aim is to create a vivid and detailed reading experience for your readers. This writing style is mostly used for poems, journals, diaries, and lyrics.

How to use descriptive writing

If you are going to use descriptive writing, it is a good idea to use as many descriptive words as possible. A key aspect of descriptive writing is to touch on the five senses, which are touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste.

Utilize these senses, and use literary tools such as similes and metaphors as well. These literary tools will allow you to make your writing more vivid and engrossing.

When to use descriptive writing

This type of writing is best used for novels, poems, journals, diaries, and lyrics. Remember that you will need to make an impression with your readers, with just your words. This is where descriptive writing comes in handy. By using sensory words, metaphors, similes, and other writing devices, you will be able to make a big impact with your readers. Here are some great examples of descriptive writing.

“Hundreds of butterflies flitted in and out of sight like short-lived punctuation marks in a stream of consciousness without beginning or end.”

― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

“A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was Bagheera the Black Panther, inky black all over, but with the panther markings showing up in certain lights like the pattern of watered silk. Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path, for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.”

― Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Books

3. Persuasive writing

This writing style is meant to persuade the reader to follow your line of thinking, or subscribe to a concept that you subscribe to. This writing style requires you to do as much research as possible, and properly use these facts to sway your readers.

How to use persuasive writing

When it comes to using the persuasive writing style, the most important thing to consider is your sources. Remember that your main intent is to persuade your readers to follow your train of thought.

This means that you should make sure that your sources are all accurate and can back up any statements that you make in your content. While you could write down your opinions on a certain topic and be based on an argument, you should still have the right facts to back up your claims.

The burden of defending your statement depends on you, so you must be prepared to do so.

When to use persuasive writing

This is usually used on speeches, reviews, recommendations, brochures, online and newspaper ads, and business proposals. This type of writing is also a favorite of lawyers when they write legal documents for their clients. Students also favor this style of writing when they write a book report or thesis.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of agression and conquest. I believe that the purposes for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them and that had this been done the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolonging these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.

―  Siegfried Sassoon,  A Soldier’s Declaration

I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds…

―  Martin Luther King JR,  Letter From A Birmingham Jail

4. Expository writing

When it comes to informing or explaining concepts and events to your readers, expository writing is the best option. This type of writing is used in content such as how-to articles, news articles, and educational articles just to name a few.

How to use expository writing

If you are going to use expository writing, it is important that you are as detailed as possible. As it was stated earlier, this type of writing is meant to educate your readers on a certain topic.

When you use expository writing, it is important that you answer the three key questions, which are What? Why? And How?

By answering these questions, you will be able to answer a majority of your readers’ questions. Another key part of expository writing is that you will need to base your statements on logic and statistics.

While you may have your own opinions on the topic, it is still important that you base all your writing on accepted facts and sources.

If you are going to develop your writing technique, it always helps to be as multifaceted as possible. First and foremost, you should make sure that you know the basic writing styles. With this article, you will be informed on the various writing styles and how to use them efficiently.

When to use expository writing

This type of writing is used in content such as how-to articles, news articles, and educational articles, just to name a few. This is a favorite of journalists and travel bloggers because it gives them the ability to inform their readers as effectively as possible. Here are some great examples of expository writing.

“You Can See Russia From America!

There are two small Islands in the middle of the Bering Straits that are 2.4 miles apart, and have the “International Date Line” running between them. The larger Island to the west is Russian and is named Ratmanov Island. It is considered the last island in the far eastern reach of Asia.

Little Diomede Island or Ignaluk Island, belongs to Alaska and is the easternmost of the two islands. It is as far west as you can go before reaching the “International Date Line.” Although the two islands are within easy sight of each other they are 24 hours apart, with one being in tomorrow and the other being in today. There are approximately 170, mostly Native Americans, living on the smaller American island.

During winter, an ice bridge usually spans the distance between these two islands, therefore there are times when it is possible to walk between the United States and Russia. This little stroll can be dangerous and is not advised; however at this location you can definitely see Russia from America.”

―  Hank Bracker,  The Exciting Story of Cuba: Understanding Cuba's Present by Knowing Its Past

“The English language [during the Elizabethan era] wasn't standardized. There were no official dictionaries. There was no cultural belief that words should always be spelled the same way. So people spelled things however they heard them or however made sense. I mean the name Shakespeare had something like 16 different spellings, and the way he spelled it isn't the way we spell it.- School of Night - pg 44”

―  Bayard Louis

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Which Style Guide Is Best for You?

By Erin Wright

Image of Stack of Books | Which Style Guide Is Best for You?

Today’s post provides an overview of the “big four” style guides in American English:

  • The Associated Press Stylebook (AP style)
  • The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style)
  • The MLA Handbook from the Modern Language Association of America (MLA style)
  • The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA style)

The purpose of this overview is to help you decide which style guide is best for your writing based on each guide’s target audience, depth, and accessibility. If you need a quick primer on what style guides are and why you should use them, hop over to “ What Is a Style Guide? ”

The Associated Press Stylebook (AP Style)

The Associated Press Stylebook is for journalists who write for Associated Press outlets; however, it has been widely adopted by journalists outside of the Associated Press as well as organizations, news-centric bloggers, and independent authors who appreciate the Stylebook’s straightforward approach to style and usage.

The Associated Press Stylebook is updated every three years. Prior to 2020, it was updated every year. The Associated Press publishes it as a spiral-bound softcover and Basic Books publishes it as a bound softcover. It is also available through a subscription-based website .

Pros of AP Style

With special sections dedicated to business, fashion, food, religion, and sports, The Associated Press Stylebook is an obvious choice for bloggers, authors, and organizations writing news-centric content on those topics. Plus, the Stylebook’s alphabetized organization makes it easy to navigate.

Cons of AP Style

Because it’s updated more frequently than the other guides, The Associated Press Stylebook challenges writers and editors to stay current. In addition, it defers to Webster’s New World College Dictionary rather than Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary , which is the preferred dictionary for the other three style guides mentioned in this post.

The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago Style)

The Chicago Manual of Style is the most popular style guide in the publishing industry because it’s the most comprehensive option currently available—and this depth makes it more versatile for a variety of content, including general business writing.

The University of Chicago published the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style in 2010. The seventeenth edition was published in 2017. Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online have access to web-based versions of both the sixteenth and seventeenth editions. None of the editions are available as an e-book.

Pros of Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is a publishing industry standard (although not all publishing houses use it), so those who choose to follow it are in good company with many heavy-hitters of the writing world.

More importantly, The Chicago Manual of Style has more depth than the other style guides discussed here. If you have punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, or other usage questions, you’re likely to find answers within this hefty tome—that’s why I use it for my writing and suggest it to clients who haven’t chosen a guide yet.

Cons of Chicago Style

It’s big! So, don’t plan on lugging it to your writing sessions at the coffee shop unless you have a large bag and a strong back. Of course, if you need a travel-friendly option, you can subscribe to the online version. Additionally, its length and density can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re looking for topics that aren’t directly listed in the index.

MLA Handbook (MLA Style)

The Modern Language Association of America’s MLA Handbook is geared toward humanities students. While it does offer some style and usage recommendations, its primary concern is documentation and citation. It’s available as a softcover and as an e-book .

The MLA Handbook had a companion titled the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing . This manual was more comprehensive than the current handbook; however, the Modern Language Association stop publishing it in 2016, and its recommendations are no longer part of MLA style.

Pros of MLA Style

The MLA Handbook is widely used by colleges and universities across the United States, so knowing MLA style is an advantage if you’re involved with academic writing in the humanities or other liberal arts. Furthermore, it’s physically small and, therefore, travel-friendly.

Cons of MLA Style

Due to its focus on documentation and citation rather than style and usage, the MLA Handbook may not be practical outside of academic or research settings.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Style)

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is for academic writing and research in the social and behavioral sciences. It’s also an excellent option for bloggers and independent authors who write about topics within those fields of study.

The Publication Manual is available as a softcover, hardcover, and spiral-bound version, as well as an ebook. The American Psychological Association also has a subscription-based web portal called Academic Writer offering tools and resources for students and researchers using APA style.

Pros of APA Style

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is easy to read and well organized. Its tables and figures are especially helpful as quick references.

Cons of APA style

While more comprehensive than the MLA Handbook , the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is squarely focused on academic writing and research. Therefore, it can be difficult to adapt to other types of writing.

In my opinion, The Chicago Manual of Style is the best option for (1) general business writers, including copywriters, bloggers, and many technical writers; (2) fiction and nonfiction authors who are interested in traditional publishing; and (3) independent authors who want to maintain industry-standard styles and usage.

The Associated Press Stylebook is the obvious choice for journalists, but it may also be the best choice for freelance writers or organizations that (1) create news-centric content or (2) want to instill journalistic sensibilities into their writing.

Lastly, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association has more flexibility for use outside of academia than does the MLA Handbook , but neither is an ideal choice for business writers, fiction or nonfiction authors, journalists, or bloggers.

If you’re looking for even more style guide options, check out my previous post “ Alternative Style Guides .” And who wants a style guide without a dictionary? Find out which dictionary is best for you , also.

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Four US Style Guides That Every Writer Needs to Know About

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Lots of organizations use style guides. In fact, according to some of our recent research, 67 percent of companies have their own corporate style guide. 

And no, we’re not talking about brand style guides — the document that outlines your brand guidelines for your logo, font, and color palette, among other design elements. We’re talking about a content style guide — your best tool to make sure all your company’s content maintains a consistent voice and brand personality, regardless of department or location.

Style guides typically lay out all the guidelines for the content a business produces. At their most basic, they might be just a few pages and cover the fundamentals of grammar and punctuation. Meanwhile, more sophisticated guides can run to hundreds of pages. They can contain guidelines about everything from terminology, formatting, and abbreviations, to slang, capitalizations, and industry-specific words and phrases.

A content style guide is the backbone of your enterprise content strategy. In a perfect world, it unites all your content contributors — no matter where they work — and helps them to standardize their writing style and tone. It also keeps them on message and speaking in the voice of your brand.

Having a style guide gives writers clarity and helps to ensure they create consistent, professional content — regardless of content type. Ideally, it should be a resource that makes life easier and makes sure that what content creators are writing reflects the company’s brand, style, and tone of voice. If your company doesn’t have its own style guide, there are plenty of great editorial style guides you can use.

Here are four of our favorite US style manuals for B2B writers:

  • The Associated Press Stylebook (AP Stylebook)

The AP Stylebook  is the media bible. This stylebook contains commonly accepted journalistic standards for usage, spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Most U.S. newspapers, magazines, and broadcast writers use it as their go-to style guide. It’s also characterized by its commitment to keeping writing style easy, concise, and free of bias. In recent years, marketing departments and public relations firms have also adopted it. So, if this is your area of content creation, AP style is probably a good fit for you. And, even if that’s not the case, AP style is so ubiquitous you really can’t go wrong using it.

  • The Chicago Manual of Style

Currently on its 17th edition,  The Chicago Manual of Style  is beloved by writers, editors, and publishers. It’s the standard for book publishing in fiction and nonfiction and is often used in the arts and humanities for academic papers. It has a lot of instruction on the publishing process, such as preparing a manuscript, proofreading, formatting, and citation, as well as style and usage. A more pared-down version of Chicago Style, called Turabian Style, is also available and aimed at students writing research papers. If you’re a professional publishing your work, you’d use The Chicago Manual of Style. Many corporations have also adopted it as their preferred writing reference tool.

  • MLA Handbook

The Modern Language Association’s  MLA Handbook  is mostly used in the academic world. Recently updated to reflect modern challenges, such as web publication, it has one system that can be used across all platforms. It’s often used in teaching and lays out the principles behind citing and documenting sources, and gives detailed guidelines on scholarly writing and formatting manuscripts. MLA style is favored by scholars, journal publishers, and academic writers and publishers. Here, too, however, B2B writers are adopting it for content creation.

  • The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style  is an absolute writer’s companion and possibly the ultimate of style guides. Written in 1918, it was revised decades later by Charlotte’s Web author EB White. It’s short and to the point, with an emphasis on the clarity and simplicity of proper writing. The rules are hard and fast, but set out simply. Authors, journalists, and copywriters love the “Little Book.” If you want to improve your writing in general, or need to focus on brevity and conciseness, this might be the editorial style guide for you.

Of course there are other style guides you could also consider, like the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  or the  Diversity Style Guide . It matters less which one you chose, and more that you consistently uphold those standards across all enterprise content. 

Content Style Guides The Path to Creating Consistent and Engaging Customer Experiences

Make it company-specific.

Once your company has settled on a foundational editorial style guide, it’s time to get personal! Now you have to consider how you can add to those base guidelines to make them unique to your organization. A content style guide has to be specific to your company since it’s your chance to showcase your brand voice and connect with your customers.

Your guidelines should lay out the rules for things like:

  • Tone of voice. When used in a business context, tone of voice helps customers understand and connect with your brand. It’s about using language to give your brand its own distinct and recognizable voice. And it’s a vital part of creating engaging and effective content. If you haven’t defined your tone yet, or want to refresh it, make sure to check out  Watch Your Tone! The Ultimate Guide to Developing Your Company’s Tone of Voice e-book , and our  Tone of Voice Workbook  — to help bring your tone of voice to life.
  • Product or service-related words and phrases.  Your content style guide is the perfect place to standardize any company-specific words and phrases. It guarantees consistent, on-brand  terminology  will be in your content, no matter which department or writer is producing it. And that helps your customers easily understand and learn about your product or service.
  • Grammar guidelines.  Some grammar rules can be bent or broken. For example, starting a sentence with “and” or “but,” or ending one with a preposition like “on,” may not be strictly correct, but more people do it when they talk. You can also standardize the use of things like the Oxford comma. So you can adjust your grammar standards (or a lack of them) as a way to emphasize your brand voice.
  • Accessibility standards.  Ultimately, accessible content builds trust with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and you want your content to be accessible to the widest audience possible. So set standards about clarity and conciseness when outlining your style guide.
  • Inclusive language.  Inclusive language demonstrates awareness of the vast diversity of people in the world. And using inclusive language offers respect, safety, and belonging to all people, regardless of their personal characteristics. So it’s a critical part of any style guide. It includes many different aspects, such as respectful, history-conscious, and gender-neutral language, among others. If you want to learn more about how to bring inclusivity into your content strategy, check out  The Acrolinx Guide to Inclusive Language .

Getting the Most Out of Style Guides

While style guides are a vital instrument in creating content, they’re not perfect. Whether they’re online or in physical book form, they can be hard to use. Writers aren’t going to memorize them front to back, or even refer to them when they should.

Fortunately, modern technology means they don’t have to. Innovative software enables writers to select a style guide of their choice (or input their own) and be guided to write in accordance with it. The result is universal compliance with style guideline preferences, without the hassle of having to manually look things up or run all of your content through a team of editors. No matter which style manual your company uses, having the right software to help enforce it can make a big difference. Plus, you can standardize guidelines for inclusive language, accessibility, and brand tone of voice.

Find out more about how Acrolinx can help you manage and enforce your company’s style guide to increase the quality and accuracy of all your content.  Download our latest guide!

Cynthia Spiers leads the content, digital, and product marketing team at Acrolinx. She brings more than two decades of marketing leadership to her role as Vice President, Content & Product Marketing. A lover of writing and all things content, Cynthia holds a BA from Connecticut College. She’s also a mom to three daughters and two adorable dogs.

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8 Business Writing Guidelines to Remember

8 Business Writing Guidelines to Remember

Business writing takes time and skill. Follow these 8 tips to produce clear, persuasive, informative text that will resonate with your target audience.

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Marketing Research: Why Having Consistent Content Is So Important

Consistent content is the backbone of any successful business. Don’t believe us? We have the research to back it up in our blog.

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Generate accurate Harvard reference lists quickly and for FREE, with MyBib!

🤔 What is a Harvard Referencing Generator?

A Harvard Referencing Generator is a tool that automatically generates formatted academic references in the Harvard style.

It takes in relevant details about a source -- usually critical information like author names, article titles, publish dates, and URLs -- and adds the correct punctuation and formatting required by the Harvard referencing style.

The generated references can be copied into a reference list or bibliography, and then collectively appended to the end of an academic assignment. This is the standard way to give credit to sources used in the main body of an assignment.

👩‍🎓 Who uses a Harvard Referencing Generator?

Harvard is the main referencing style at colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Australia. It is also very popular in other English-speaking countries such as South Africa, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. University-level students in these countries are most likely to use a Harvard generator to aid them with their undergraduate assignments (and often post-graduate too).

🙌 Why should I use a Harvard Referencing Generator?

A Harvard Referencing Generator solves two problems:

  • It provides a way to organise and keep track of the sources referenced in the content of an academic paper.
  • It ensures that references are formatted correctly -- inline with the Harvard referencing style -- and it does so considerably faster than writing them out manually.

A well-formatted and broad bibliography can account for up to 20% of the total grade for an undergraduate-level project, and using a generator tool can contribute significantly towards earning them.

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's Harvard Referencing Generator?

Here's how to use our reference generator:

  • If citing a book, website, journal, or video: enter the URL or title into the search bar at the top of the page and press the search button.
  • Choose the most relevant results from the list of search results.
  • Our generator will automatically locate the source details and format them in the correct Harvard format. You can make further changes if required.
  • Then either copy the formatted reference directly into your reference list by clicking the 'copy' button, or save it to your MyBib account for later.

MyBib supports the following for Harvard style:

🍏 What other versions of Harvard referencing exist?

There isn't "one true way" to do Harvard referencing, and many universities have their own slightly different guidelines for the style. Our generator can adapt to handle the following list of different Harvard styles:

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Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

The challenge of being a creative person once you’ve created a person

A very tired parent’s tips for writing a book while also doing all the other things.

writing styles used by authors

Eight or nine years ago, an old friend called seeking advice. She was trying to write a novel, but she was also a new mom with a full-time job, and she was exhausted. I, who had breezily published a couple of books by then, offered my best wisdom. You have to push through, I told her sternly. You have to take your own writing seriously, or nobody else will. Set aside two hours every night. Put on the coffee and push through the exhaustion. You can and will do it.

Years passed. Then I, too, had a baby. Then I, too, set out to write a book while also being a mother with a full-time job. And somewhere in the middle of this endeavor, I called my friend and asked whether my advice had been as bad as I was beginning to sense it had been. No, she told me cheerfully, it had actually been much worse. The callousness of it had shocked her, she said, until she decided that I simply hadn’t known any better and that, when I did, I would apologize.

God, I’m so sorry.

My first post-baby book came out today, and I have been thinking, almost nonstop, about the relationship between creativity and motherhood. I used to love reading articles with titles such as “The daily routines of 10 famous artists,” until I realized that Leo Tolstoy may have finished his masterpieces by locking his study doors to ensure uninterrupted productivity, but, like, what were his 13 children doing while he was in there? Did anyone check in on Mrs. Tolstoy? For the women I know, there is no setting aside a few hours at the end of the workday. The end of the workday is the beginning of the parent day. The end of the parent day is never, because 2-year-olds wake cheerfully at 5 a.m., and strep throat comes for us all.

Where, in this schedule, was the life of the mind? TikTok would not stop showing me videos of mothers showing off their “realistic beauty routines,” but what I really wanted were realistic creativity routines: the mothers who didn’t give a crap about heatless curlers, but had somehow composed a cello sonata while working five days a week as a dental hygienist.

In my bleariest days of early parenthood, I met a woman at the playground who had just finished doing something extraordinary (Triathlon? Solo art exhibit?), and when the rest of us asked her how she’d found the time, she shrugged and said, modestly, “Oh, you know.” But the point was that we didn’t know, and we were desperate for her to tell us. (Live-in grandparents? Adderall?)

The bigger point is that we weren’t really trying to figure out how to compete in triathlons. We were trying to figure out how to be people.

When you have a baby or a toddler, reminding yourself that you are a full person with your own dreams and needs can feel both completely vital and completely impossible. But being a full person is a sacred legacy to give to a child. My own mother is a folk artist. When I was growing up, she made Ukrainian eggs in the frigid concrete sunroom, a space heater at her feet, and her works were shown and sold at galleries around the Midwest. I knew then, and I know now, that my mother would die and kill for me. But I also knew that she loved other things, too. She had loved those things before she ever knew me. She had secrets and wisdom to pass on.

Her work had nothing to do with me, yet it was a gift. It paid for my brother and me to go to summer camp. It went on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, and we visited it, as well as the Seurats and the Hoppers, and ate granola bars. When my mother dies, I will carefully unwrap the tissue paper surrounding the astonishing works of art she gave to me over the years, and I will sob.

I want that for my own daughter. I want her to know that motherhood doesn’t have to atrophy personhood; it can expand it.

And in wanting that, desperately, I came up with a routine that allowed me to maintain a grip on the parts of me that were me before I was a mother. A realistic creativity routine, if you will.

I write between the hours of 10 p.m. and midnight, unless it turns out that I write between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4. I write 300 to 400 words every time I am on the Metro; I write 30 to 40 words each time I pick my daughter up from day care, in the three-minute gap between when I ring the outer bell and when a teacher’s aide comes to let me inside. I write badly. I write very, very badly, vaguely remembering a quote I’d once heard attributed to author Jodi Picoult, about how you can always edit a bad page, but you can never edit a blank page.

Does it look like the routines of Tolstoy, or Virginia Woolf, or anyone else I may have once read about in an article about the routines of famous artists? It does not. But the bad pages get edited, and then they get good.

Pursuing creativity as a working mom means, in other words, letting go of any romantic notions of what creativity means or looks like.

It means not waiting for inspiration to strike, but instead striking inspiration, bludgeoning it upside the head and wrestling it to the ground. Inspiration is a luxury, and once you realize that, you can also understand that the ability to create something through sheer force of will — without inspiration, without routine, without time — is a far more creative act than relying on a muse.

If my old friend called me now, I think that is what I would say to her. That, and:

You will not be Mark Twain, summoned by a horn when it’s time to eat the dinner someone else has prepared. You will not be going on Tchaikovsky’s vigorous two-hour walks through the countryside or spending the morning shopping for inspiring objects like Andy Warhol.

But you will create something. Not by pushing through the exhaustion so much as living alongside it, and then peering beyond it, and then stopping, and then starting, and then having superhuman discipline, and then eating a whole package of Oreos, and then finishing something beautiful at 2 a.m. and sneaking into your child’s room to see another beautiful thing, and then thinking about how the things that make us the most tired are the things that give us reason to create at all.

writing styles used by authors

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Sf creative writing institute to offer week-long summer camp, announcement details, announcement message.

In this one week-workshop style summer camp, teens will write stories, novel excerpts, nonfiction, and poetry in a fun, inclusive environment. 

Our goal is self-expression. Our methods are learning by doing, teaching young writers to find their unique voice, try out different styles in their writing, and follow the artistic process to see where it leads. 

Taught by working artist and college English instructor.

Ages: 

Date: .

Aug. 12-16, 2024

Time: 

12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Location: 

Harvey Milk Center for the Arts 

50 Scott Street 

San Francisco, Calif. 94117

Cost: 

Use code SAVE50 to get early bird discount of 50 percent off before July 1. 

SFUSD neither endorses nor sponsors the organization or activity described in this announcement. This distribution is provided as a community service.

Announcement Links

Creative Writing Evening Class  (Summer 2024)

Creative Writing Evening Class (Summer 2024)

A broad and engaging creative writing evening class, suitable for those wanting to learn new skills and existing writers.

Date and time

Loughborough University

Refund Policy

About this event.

  • 56 days 2 hours

This is a mixed ability 8-week course, suitable for those wanting to learn new skills and writers looking to polish existing talents.

The topics covered during the course will include character development, utilizing your senses, writing from life experience and much more. The focus is primarily on fiction, but the skills you will learn are applicable to poetry and writing for screen and stage.

Classes will run every Wednesday from 7-9pm from 26 June to 21 August 2024. Please note that there will not be a class on Wednesday 3 July 2024.

Further information will be sent out by email in advance of the first class.

P lease note that this class is not open to Under 16s.

I f you are purchasing this as a gift for someone, then please use your email address on the booking. You can update this at a later date by emailing [email protected].

About the Tutor

Alison Mott is a writer and story collector with many years’ experience leading creative activities in the community.

She writes memoir, historical fiction and non-fiction, children's fiction and educational materials for adults and schools.

Her work has appeared across a range of publications, online platforms and local presses, including The Guardian and Primary History Magazine .

Alison was Writer in Residence at Loughborough's Old Rectory Museum in 2018 and her book, Songster – Loughborough’s Own War Horse was published by Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum the same year.

She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and is accredited as a writing coach through the Arvon Foundation and the National Association of Writers in Education.

Visitors are required to register their vehicle and pay to park on campus. There is a flat evening rate of £1 after 6pm. You have 30 minutes from arrival in which to complete the registration process. There are various ways in which you can register and pay:

· Download the APCOA Connect App* (location code 2862)

· Pre-book parking online

· Pay for parking online (on arrival)

· Pay by ScanPay on arrival *

· By phone: 01895 262122 (location code 2862)

· By cashless pay machines on campus. At present the closest pay machine is in Car Park 9, which is on the opposite side of Epinal Way to Cope Auditorium.

* There is an additional 20p surcharge that applies to payments via these methods.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any queries or visit the visitor parking webpage for more information .

Accessibility

The class will take place in G Block on campus, which is located behind Edward Herbert Building and close to the Ashleigh Drive entrance. The building has step-free access and the room will be on the ground floor.

If you have any specific access requirements or anything you would like us to be aware of when running the event, please let us know via the booking form or email [email protected] in advance of booking and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Cancellation and Refunds

We will issue refunds for cancellations (minus Eventbrite fees) up to seven days prior to the first class, but no refunds will subsequently be issued unless a class is cancelled and cannot be re-arranged.

Please note that Eventbrite processes data (including any personal data you may submit during your booking) outside of the European Economic Area. Please only submit any personal data which you are happy to have processed in this way, and in accordance with Eventbrite’s privacy policy applicable to respondents.

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IMAGES

  1. Major Types Of Writing Styles

    writing styles used by authors

  2. Writing Styles

    writing styles used by authors

  3. Types Of Writing: The 4 Main Types of Writing Styles Students Should

    writing styles used by authors

  4. Mastering Writing Styles: From Narrative to Expository

    writing styles used by authors

  5. 4 Different Types of Writing Styles: Expository, Descriptive

    writing styles used by authors

  6. 10 Different Types Of Writing Styles: Which One Do You Enjoy

    writing styles used by authors

VIDEO

  1. 3 Simple Ways to Write a Banner & Title “March”

  2. Four Nonfiction Writing Styles

  3. 5 Worst Types of Writers (Writing Advice)

  4. Ni vs Ne Writing Styles (Including Excerpts!)

  5. 26 of The Best 21st Century Authors

  6. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

COMMENTS

  1. The 4 Main Writing Styles [& How Authors Can Find Their Own]

    The 4 Main Types of Writing Styles. 1. Persuasive writing style. Let's say I wanted to write a book about the value of letting employees bring their dogs to work. One way to convince business leaders to adopt this idea is to use a persuasive writing style.

  2. Understanding the 4 Writing Styles: How to Identify and Use Them

    Writers who use the narrative style are telling a story with a plot and characters. It's the most common writing style for fiction, although nonfiction can also be narrative writing as long as its focus is on characters, what they do, and what happens to them. Common Places You'd See Narrative Writing. Novels; Biography or autobiography; Poetry

  3. The 4 Main Writing Styles: Definitions, Examples, and Techniques

    Style 2: Descriptive Writing. Descriptive writing allows much more creative freedom than expository, because writers are free to use imaginative language to describe a subject. The main purpose of descriptive writing is to paint a picture in the reader's mind of a person, place, or thing.

  4. Exploring Writing Styles: Meaning, Types, and Examples

    5. Creative writing style. Creative writing's purpose is to entertain, provoke thought, express feelings, and stretch the imagination of the reader. It's a way for writers to express themselves creatively by talking about all sorts of human experiences, like wild adventures, deep thoughts, or trying out new ideas.

  5. The 4 Main Types of Writing Styles and How to Use Them as a Writer

    Here are some tips for writing with descriptive writing styles: Use literary devices such as metaphors and similes. Use well thought out adjectives and adverbs to describe nouns and verbs. Bring attention to small details. Use the 6 senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, sound, and feeling.

  6. Writing Styles: What is Style in Writing?

    Such differences in expression are the essence of style. Writing styles showcase how a writer reaches their point, encompassing the totality of the author's word choice, sentence structures, use of literary devices, etc. It is the gestalt of every decision, both conscious and unconscious, that the writer makes in the text.

  7. Types of Writing Styles

    Each of these writing styles is used for a specific purpose. A single text may include more than one writing style. Expository. Expository writing is one of the most common types of writing. When an author writes in an expository style, all they are trying to do is explain a concept, imparting information from themselves to a wider audience.

  8. Style

    There are four basic literary styles used in writing. These styles distinguish the works of different authors, one from others. Here are four styles of writing: Expository or Argumentative Style. Expository writing style is a subject-oriented style. The focus of the writer in this type of writing style is to tell the readers about a specific ...

  9. Writing Styles: How to Use the 4 Foundational Writing Styles

    Written by MasterClass. Last updated: Apr 7, 2022 • 2 min read. When you begin a piece of writing, your work will generally fall into one of four broad categories. Each of the four writing styles is suited to a particular purpose. Learn how to use narrative writing, descriptive writing, expository writing, and persuasive writing to great effect.

  10. Style in Literature: Definition & Examples

    Descriptive Writing. Writers use descriptive style to create a visual, and it usually includes sensory words to evoke a well-rounded picture of what is being described. Rather than state facts about a person or event, this style uses poetic images to get the point across, often using metaphors and similar devices to paint the picture. ...

  11. Definitive Guide to Writing Styles

    Comic book writing involves creating stories and narratives through sequential art and text. This writing style is used by comic book writers, graphic novelists, and storyboard artists to craft engaging and visually compelling stories across various genres, such as superhero, fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

  12. Master the 5 Writing Styles to Engage Your Readers

    Each one serves a different purpose and employs different techniques to accomplish it. Knowing how and when to use the appropriate style—or in many cases, how to combine them—will help you better engage your readers and convey your ideas more effectively. Expository Writing. Persuasive Writing. Narrative Writing.

  13. 4 Types of Writing Styles (And How to Create Your Own)

    Descriptive writing serves a pivotal role in the realm of fiction, encompassing fictional novels, plays, screenwriting, and scripts. This style plays a key role in constructing immersive worlds and storylines, breathing life into characters, and crafting captivating scenes. 3. Persuasive writing style.

  14. How to Find Your Writing Style [With Examples]

    There are essentially aesthetics and nuances that you can purposely tweak in order to give your audience your art. Here are some examples of how an author's writing style may vary: Wordiness - How much your narrative uses longer, run-on sentences versus short and choppy ones. Syntax - The structure of your sentences, the emphasis, pauses ...

  15. What Is a Writing Style Guide, and Which One Should You Use?

    A style guide ensures consistency and clarity in writing across an industry, company or project. English offers a ton of ways to write almost anything, even within one continent. Sometimes deciding which way to go is a matter of expression — like whether to say "traffic light" or "stop-and-go light.".

  16. Writing Styles

    Writing Styles. Your audience and writing purpose will determine your writing style. The four main types of writing styles are persuasive, narrative, expository, and descriptive. In this blog post, we'll briefly explore the defining features of these four writing styles. For more help using these writing styles, schedule an appointment at the ...

  17. Writing Styles of Famous Authors

    Authors like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Zora Neale Hurston, and Agatha Christie created their own techniques that tapped into their experiences, the time period, and what new ways they could manipulate their language. By understanding the history of these authors, and how they developed their own unique styles of writing, you ...

  18. 4 Types of Writing Styles and How to Use Them

    By learning of these writing styles, you will be able to enhance your writing technique to new heights. This article will open you to the four basic writing styles, and further strengthen your foundation as a writer. 1. Narrative writing. This type of writing style is best used for story writing. As the name implies, you are supposed to create ...

  19. How to Find Your Writing Style: 8 Tips for Developing Voice and Tone

    How to Find Your Writing Style: 8 Tips for Developing Voice and Tone. Just like a famous designer might have a unique fashion style, great writers develop their own signature methods for storytelling and communication. Try these tips for developing a writing style that fits who you are and the stories you want to tell. Just like a famous ...

  20. 5 Writing Styles of Famous Authors That You Should Emulate

    Here are five writing styles of famous authors that you should learn from. 1. Ernest Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway is considered as one of the finest writers in literary history. Writing style wise ...

  21. Which Style Guide Is Best for You?

    Conclusion. In my opinion, The Chicago Manual of Style is the best option for (1) general business writers, including copywriters, bloggers, and many technical writers; (2) fiction and nonfiction authors who are interested in traditional publishing; and (3) independent authors who want to maintain industry-standard styles and usage.

  22. 4 US Style Guides That Every Writer Needs to Know

    This stylebook contains commonly accepted journalistic standards for usage, spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Most U.S. newspapers, magazines, and broadcast writers use it as their go-to style guide. It's also characterized by its commitment to keeping writing style easy, concise, and free of bias.

  23. Free Harvard Referencing Generator [Updated for 2024]

    A Harvard Referencing Generator solves two problems: It provides a way to organise and keep track of the sources referenced in the content of an academic paper. It ensures that references are formatted correctly -- inline with the Harvard referencing style -- and it does so considerably faster than writing them out manually.

  24. Perspective

    6 min. Eight or nine years ago, an old friend called seeking advice. She was trying to write a novel, but she was also a new mom with a full-time job, and she was exhausted. I, who had breezily ...

  25. Use cases and capabilities

    Claude excels at processing and understanding text, making it an invaluable tool for numerous applications. Some of its key text capabilities include: Capability. Description. Summarization. Condensing long articles, reports, or documents into concise summaries. Writing and editing. Assisting with content creation, proofreading, and improving ...

  26. The Three Act Structure

    Military Love. Dec 31, 2023 - Many writers wonder how to use the Three Act Structure in their writing. The precise and orderly outline has guided the writing of millions of books.

  27. SF Creative Writing Institute to offer week-long summer camp

    Our goal is self-expression. Our methods are learning by doing, teaching young writers to find their unique voice, try out different styles in their writing, and follow the artistic process to see where it leads. Taught by working artist and college English instructor. Ages: 13-17. Date: Aug. 12-16, 2024. Time: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Location:

  28. How teachers started using ChatGPT to grade assignments

    A new tool called Writable, which uses ChatGPT to help grade student writing assignments, is being offered widely to teachers in grades 3-12.. Why it matters: Teachers have quietly used ChatGPT to grade papers since it first came out — but now schools are sanctioning and encouraging its use. Driving the news: Writable, which is billed as a time-saving tool for teachers, was purchased last ...

  29. Creative Writing Evening Class (Summer 2024)

    The focus is primarily on fiction, but the skills you will learn are applicable to poetry and writing for screen and stage. Classes will run every Wednesday from 7-9pm from 26 June to 21 August 2024. Please note that there will not be a class on Wednesday 3 July 2024. Further information will be sent out by email in advance of the first class.

  30. Miss Teen USA steps down just days after Miss USA's resignation

    Miss Teen USA UmaSofia Srivastava resigned Wednesday, writing on Instagram that her "personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization." CNN values your feedback 1.