Different Styles of Writing: How to Identify & Develop Them.
Before you get down to penning your ideas, there is one important aspect to writing that you need to explore as an author. Every author has a writing style that becomes their identity. Stephen Kingwas a master in fiction thrillers and horror. Linda Goodman mesmerized the world with her astrological predictions. George R. R. Martin made history with A Song of Ice and Fire.
These authors were able to succeed because they identified their forte and could tell your stories convincingly.
What Are Writing Styles?
Writing style is a way of conveying your writing the way you want people to read. Almost every author has a signature writing style as it helps identify the kind of book they’re creating.Sometimes, the styles are so unique that you can tell one author from another. That is how important it is to identify your writing style before you start writing your book.
However, every style, as unique as it is, can be classified into one of four categories:
There can be instances where you end up using more than one style in your text.
So let’s explore the four styles of writing in details:
Style 1: Expository Writing
Expository means “intended to explain or describe something.” Majority of books in this category explain something more in detail. They usually provide instructions or insight into a particular topic. They are fact- centered rather than personal and offer no emotional expression to the author. How-to books, recipe books, science journals, medical journals and business reports require expository style of writing.
If you are considering using the expository style for your book idea, then these are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
- Does your idea explain something in detail?
- Does the written piece answer “what, how, why”?
- Is the written piece informative?
For example, if you are writing about chocolate, you will be doing a lot of research and include fun facts, but you will not persuade the readers to eat it. You are providing information about the product, not advertising it.
Examples of expository writing are:
- Non-fiction books
- Self-Help Books
- Writing about Hobbies & Interests
- Recipes & Cookbooks
- Instruction Guides
- Scientific Research
- Medical journals, etc.
There are guidelines to follow for expository writing:
- Avoid using words which have a positive or negative connotation.
- Do not attempt to write your opinion or try to persuade your readers into thinking, feeling or doing something based on your beliefs.
- Research and cite your sources.
- Link websites or additional resources when writing online.
- Use quotes, illustrations, informative graphics.
- Give short and clear directions.
Style 2: Descriptive Writing
Just as the word implies, descriptive writing’s main job is to describe. It goes deeper than the expository writing style and makes use of metaphors, similes and many other writing elements. It focuses on describing a character, a situation, a location, and event and more in great detail. Memoirs, poetry and certain passages of fiction are examples of descriptive writing. With this, the author hopes to make readers see, hear, taste and feel what the characters are witnessing in the book, as if the reader is experiencing it firsthand.
While writing fiction, the more descriptive and relatable the details about the settings, event, and people in the story are, it will help the readers relate to it more.
- Personal journals
- Poetry and Prose
- Travel diaries
- Lyrics in music and songwriting
This is what you need to keep in mind:
- Use metaphors and similes.
- Use suitable adjectives and adverbs to describe nouns and verbs.
- Give lots of attention to the smallest details.
- Use the senses: feel, sight, taste, smell, sound.
Style 3: Persuasive Writing
The complete opposite of the expository style of writing, this style mainly aims to influence its readers into believing or taking action. If you are looking to convince your reader to see your opinions and biases, then this is the style you need to adopt. Get ready to do tons of research, because you need to have some pretty convincing points to put forth in order to get your readers to take action.
Some popular examples of persuasive writing are:
- Letters to request an action or file a complaint
- Company broachers
- Editorials and opinion pieces in newspapers and magazines
- Political speeches
- Business proposals
If persuasive is your style, this is what you should know:
- Include information, data and facts to back your argument.
- Cite your sources and give readers access to additional information.
- Know what your readers need and want. This will help you persuade them.
Style 4: Narrative Writing
This is taking descriptive writing two notches above. We’ve talking sagas, novels, biographies, longer epic poems, fables and more. The main objective of this style of writing is to tell a story. There are characters, situations, timelines, locations, objectives, dialogues, conflicts and more. It’s the entire package.
Some of the examples are:
- Fiction novels
- Epic poems
- Memoirs or biographies
- Myths, fables, legends
Although it is often confused with the descriptive writing style, it is easy to chalk out the difference. If there are a well-developed plot and storyline, it’s mostly the narrative style of writing.
Guidelines to write a narrative piece include:
- Outlining a story, plot or timeline sequence of events.
- Include detailed descriptions of characters and scenes.
- Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why, each of them answered.
- Convey what the moral of the story is? What was the outcome of the experience?
- Use direct and strong language which gives readers an image to relate and visualize.
While all of this looks easy to understand and implement, how do you identify what your writing style is? Here are some tips on writing styles that will surely help:
Read A Lot
Every aspiring writer needs to read, a lot. Read books of different genres and make a mental note of what you connect with the most. It’s like trying on a dress before buying it.
You can’t always get it right the first time when you start writing since its only your first draft, but its best to always keep writing. Consistency is key. Take a break and start writing whatever comes to your mind. You can pick up the remaining pieces later.
Don’t try too hard. Never decide to adapt a styling of writing that doesn’t suit you. Go with the flow and write whatever naturally comes to your mind. Try new things but don’t hesitate to fall back on whatever you are comfortable with. Following your instinct is the main ingredient that leads to finding your unique writing style.
Find Your Target Audience
Before writing a book, you should do tons of research on who the target audience is to see what they like. You have better chances of succeeding that way.
Evolve Over Time
Even great writers struggle to remain flexible to all writing styles. Go with your instincts and if the tone or writing structure isn’t coming to you naturally, try another style. The writing style that comes to you naturally is your true calling.
These are the four major styles of writing available for writers, and these guidelines will help you develop your writing style. With these clear distinctions in place, you are free to choose your style, or styles, and set out to pen down your book.