If you are writing a book, you need to pick a style for your writing. But what is the difference between them? Why do you need use one style instead of another and how do you choose?
The style of writing you use depends on the type of book you are writing. For example, if you are writing a novel, a narrative style is most applicable. If you are writing a non-fiction book, an expository style is the best fit, while an expressive style is appropriate for a poem.
Every type of book has its own set of characteristics and that affect the way you write that book. Choosing the right style will help your reader understand what kind of book you are writing and what kind of information you will be presenting in the book.
The main writing styles to choose from are persuasive, narrative, expository, descriptive, analytical, argumentative, and informative.
There are good reasons for choosing a specific style and you should understand those reasons before you choose a style that is best suited for your book. Let us look at them in more depth.
Persuasive writing is used to change the way someone thinks or feels about an issue. The writer, in this case, is trying to convince the reader to agree with a particular point of view.
Most newspapers are written in persuasive styles. They present the facts of a story in a form that is easy to understand and makes the reader want to know more.
A persuasive essay and research papers are also other good examples of the use of this style.
The essay writer tries to convince the reader to accept a particular point of view by explaining the reasons and evidence behind it.
In research papers, the writer has to collect enough material to prove a certain hypothesis/theory about the topic chosen for research.
Narrative writing is storytelling. The writer creates an experience for the reader, telling a story or recounting something that happened in someone’s life. It can be fiction or non-fiction but either way, it tells a story and allows the reader to follow along with the events.
When a writer uses this style in a story, he or she is allowing the reader to imagine the world of the story as it is told through dialogue and description. This enhances a reader’s imagination because he or she can draw their own conclusions from the information presented in the story.
A story written in this fashion can be a powerful way to share a message about a specific topic with a large audience because it taps into senses and emotions through the story itself.
Fiction novels are often written in this format because it allows the writer to create a world and characters that a reader can immerse themselves into and follow along with the action as they enjoy the story.
Many non-fiction books are also written in this format because the author wants to educate readers on a topic through stories that they can relate to. This helps the reader learn much easier than simply telling facts, giving advice and such.
Descriptive writing is used to evoke a sensory experience for the reader. Its purpose is to allow readers to see, hear, taste, touch, or smell something that the writer wants to them to clearly picture. It’s an attempt to make things real for the reader.
This type of writing style is often used in literature where the author is trying to transport the reader to another world where they can experience the same things that the characters are experiencing.
Other types of books like poetry can also be written in this style because they often create images and feelings in the mind of a reader by using sensory details in their poems such as the use of metaphors to describe a feeling or a setting that is described vividly.
This is sounds fairly similar to narrative, but the difference is in the way the experience is presented to the reader. With narrative, there is generally more dialog and description is done is small pieces more often.
Descriptive has far more detail and takes it time to go in far more depth for the reader. It allows the writer to embellish the experience however he or she wants to create the most vivid picture for the audience possible.
Expository writing is used to inform readers about something, whether it be science, technology, history, politics and so one. Opinion is not essential in this type of writing, instead, the writer gives readers information to consider and learn.
Information is presented in a way that is understandable to the reader without being confusing to them. Good examples of expository books include textbooks, biographies, and even cookbooks.
Because the authors of these books are presenting factual information and instructions to readers, they are usually written in a manner that is clear and easy to follow and understand.
Readers can follow along and understand what they are reading because the writer has done his or her research well and has organized the information in a way that makes logical sense to the readers.
This style of writing takes a subject and breaks it down into its component parts. It goes beyond just describing what you see to explaining why things work the way they do.
It helps people understand a concept more fully by explaining what each part of that concept is and how it contributes to the whole. It is used for essays and other pieces of academic writing where the focus is on breaking down ideas into simpler parts so that they can be analyzed more easily.
However, it can also be used in writing reports, business proposals and even legal briefs in order to explain things in a logical manner so that others can understand them better.
This type of writing makes an argument for something, whether it be a cause or a product. It’s often used in advertising or to promote a particular idea.
Argumentative writing is persuasive but takes a specific position rather than simply convincing people to agree with them. It presents its arguments in such a way that makes it clear why it’s the correct choice and why the opposing view is wrong.
An argumentative essay focus is on proving a point or making a case for something by presenting an argument and using logic and evidence to convince an audience on that position.
Often used in academic settings, readers are presented with an argument and then given reasons as to why that argument is the correct one, therefore they must then defend their position against an opposing argument in order to prove their point.
Informative writing provides readers with information on a subject, teaching them about something new. This type of writing is usually used for school reports or business writing. It follows the “Tell me what you’re going to tell me; then tell me; and finally, tell me what you told me” format.
It sounds repetitive and it is for good reason.
When you inform people about something, you need to tell them what they’re learning and why it’s important for them to know this information. After doing so, you must make sure they actually understood the information you were trying to impart on them. Finally, you need to make sure they retain that information.
It usually contains facts, statistics, definitions, and other information that is useful to people learning about the topic at hand. Also called explanatory, it is the type of paper students use most often in school.
However, even informational essays must have a strong thesis statement that makes clear what the purpose of the essay is and what its arguments are.
Reflective / Personal
Personal essays are the most commonly used form of reflective writing and describe a personal experience and how it changed the author in some way.
For example, a college student may write about a trip they took overseas that changed how they viewed the world or even themselves. These types of essays are often used in scholarship applications or college applications as a way for students to show admissions officers why they are a good fit for the school and why they should be accepted.
They are also popular topics for personal journals because they are a way for people to write about their own personal experiences and share them with others.
Does Style Come Before or After You Start Writing?
You can generally choose before but do not be surprised if you change your mind once you get underway.
Once you are writing you may realize that the style changes because your writing takes on a life of its own. It may change into a different style than you thought was appropriate in the idea stage.
Sometimes this happens because the words just flow naturally from one style to another, or it is because you find that you are moving in a different direction than you had planned.
Either way do not worry, it is not the end of the world!
Just go with the flow and change your style if need be.
What Makes a Writing Style Bad?
A particular style itself is not necessarily bad. Instead, it is the way that it is used that can be problematic.
Not all styles are appropriate for all situations and the important thing to remember is that the style is for the audience you are writing for and not just for yourself.
Try writing with a style in mind and you will usually find very quickly if it is not suitable for that particular project and so can change it and try another one.
Each of these writing styles is unique. They all offer something different to the reader, and they exist for very specific reasons. You should know them as they are helpful for any type of writing.
One of these may jump out to you as clearly the best style to use for your writing project. if so, that’s great!
If not, try considering them all to see which one might best suit your purposes. Each has advantages and disadvantages so you’ll need to weigh those when deciding which is best for your project.
Do you use any of these specifically in your writing? Let us know how you use them to in your own work in the comments below!