Types of Writing Styles

There are six different types of writing styles:

1. Descriptive writing style

Descriptive writing immerses the reader into a story by creating a vivid picture of characters, settings and events in their mind. Writers who use a descriptive writing style often use literary tools like similes and metaphors in their writing.

(A simile makes a comparison using the words “like” or “as.” Example: The concert was so crowded, it felt like a million people were there. A metaphor makes the comparison directly, substituting one thing for another. Example: That test was a real killer).

The purpose of the descriptive writing style is to make the reader feel like they are experiencing the events for themselves. Most descriptive writing isn’t very long. Examples include poems, personal journals and lyrics.

You can use descriptive writing when you want to bring a story to life, such as a brief biography or autobiography written 'to introduce a new person on the block'.

2. Narrative writing style

Narrative Writing expands upon the descriptive writing style and tells an entire story with a beginning, middle and end. Narrative writing style follows a clear storyline and plot, such as a fictional novel, screenplay or memoir.

Writers who use a narrative writing style often use literary tools like foreshadowing and flashbacks in their writing.

3. Persuasive writing style

Persuasive writing is used to convince or influence the reader to believe or do what the writer wants them to do. The persuasive writing style requires the writer to combine research and logical reasoning with an emotional connection that persuades the reader to adopt the writer’s personal opinions and beliefs.

Examples of persuasive writing includes cover letters and advertisements intended to convince consumers to buy a product.

4. Expository writing style

Expository writing is used to inform, explain or describe something to the reader. The expository writing style is one of the most common types of writing and answers questions the reader has, such as what, why and how.

When using an expository writing style, the writer needs to separate their opinion from the facts they are sharing.

Examples of expository writing includes newsletters, how-to guides and educational articles that are intended to provide information, insights and facts about a specific subject.

5. Creative Writing

Also called Imaginative Writing

There are 10 steps you should follow to implement great and creative storytelling:

(1). Follow a clear structure

It is important for a story to have a beginning, middle and end. This makes it easy to follow and understand, as most stories in the business world follow a chronological structure.. One of the most important elements of your story is its exposition. This provides an introduction to your characters and setting, which can provide context to your listeners. Providing this clarity can help your audience remain engaged. Other important elements of your story include the rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.

(2). Ensure the audience can relate

If the audience can relate to your story, it can be more effective. Researching your audience to understand their feelings and experiences is useful to craft a compelling story. When an audience feels a connection to the story, they are more likely to engage with the brand and take the desired action. Marketers can use this to encourage people to support a brand or purchase a product.

(3). Feature likeable characters

The more likeable the characters in your story are, the more likely it is for the audience to have an interest in the story. It's important to give the main characters positive and realistic attributes, such as honesty and compassion. For example, if you're telling a brand story, then the company is the main character and you can do your best to highlight its best qualities.

(4). Appeal to an audience's emotions

Emotional appeals can be very impactful. There are six primary emotions to appeal to, which are happiness, anger, sadness, fear, surprise and disgust. Appealing to an audience’s emotions can make your story feel more authentic. You may find it easier to connect with your audience, as emotions are powerful motivators to influence actions.

(5). Include surprises

A story with surprises can help maintain an audience’s interest. When the events in a story are predictable, listeners may no longer anticipate the next part. To create a surprising story, you can challenge cliches or add suspense. For example, you can tell a product story about how a customer experience resulted in a unique way to use the product.

(6). Include the necessary information

It's important that your story includes all the information an audience needs to understand the events and characters. To increase clarity, ensure that you include important details and provide context. This includes information about the setting, such as time and location, and character motivations and characteristics. You can also be sure to thoroughly explain the problem and describe how the characters plan to solve it.

(7). Use your own experiences

It's useful to use your own experiences as inspiration for your story. This helps you to tell an authentic story which may help the audience relate. Being knowledgeable about the events that occur in the story also helps you build a structure in the story because you understand how the story can best progress.

(8). Highlight challenges and how to overcome them

Great stories have conflicts or challenges for the characters to overcome. These challenges help develop a structure within the story and make it more intriguing. For marketing purposes, it can be helpful to consider what may challenge consumers and create a story featuring a challenge the audience may experience.

(9). Tell a story with a purpose

Purposes for telling a story include to inform, entertain or persuade. Often a business tells stories to persuade consumers to make a purchase or to inform them of their company or products. Determining the purpose of your story can also help guide the plot.

(10).Show action in your story

Great storytellers can show feelings and character traits through actions rather than explaining everything to the audience. This technique helps keep your story engaging. Using action verbs and events or dialogue can help tell the story without being passive.


6. Discursive Writing

A discursive essay is a form of critical essay that attempts to provide the reader with a balanced argument on a topic, supported by evidence. It requires critical thinking, as well as sound and valid arguments that acknowledge and analyse arguments both for and against any given topic, plus discursive essay writing appeals to reason, not emotions or opinions.

While it may draw some tentative conclusions, based on evidence, the main aim of a discursive essay is to inform the reader of the key arguments and allow them to arrive at their own conclusion.

The writer needs to research the topic thoroughly to present more than one perspective and should check their own biases and assumptions through critical reflection.

Unlike persuasive writing, the writer does not need to have knowledge of the audience, though should write using academic tone and language.

Choose and Research the Topic Carefully

A basic guide to choosing an assignment topic is means considering more than one perspective. Not only do you need to find information about the topic via academic sources, you need to be able to construct a worthwhile discussion, moving from idea to idea. Therefore, more forward planning is required. The following are decisions that need to be considered when choosing a discursive essay topic:

      • What will be the three main things I choose to discuss in relation to my topic?
        (Recommended for a 1000 word essay.)These will become the controlling ideas for your three body paragraphs (some essays may require more). Each controlling idea will need arguments both for and against.
      • For example, if my topic is “renewable energy” and my three main (controlling) ideas are “cost”, “storage”, “environmental impact”, then I will need to consider arguments both for and against each of these three concepts. I will also need to have good academic sources with examples or evidence to support my claim and counter claim for each controlling idea.

Back to Writing Skills Home