Simple enough – it’s the writing style that makes all the difference.
It is possible to say the same thing in ten different ways just by altering the way in which it is said. For instance, the love struck common man might say, “She looked very beautiful that night”. A poet like Byron, on the other hand, would say, “She walks in beauty, like the night”.
See the difference?
Writing style depends on the nature of words you use, the kind of sentences you frame and above all, it depends on who you are. That’s right – writing style is a very personal and instinctive thing. You’ll be surprised how much your writing style reflects your personality.
Having said that, to be a true writer, you must learn to use different writing styles and choose the right one to fit the situation. Read further to know more about different writing styles, or take this course to write, publish and sell your first book.
The Three Fundamental Styles of Writing
All of writing can be divided into three separate writing styles:
1. Expository Writing
As the term indicates, expository writing aims to study an issue in detail without being biased towards or against any viewpoint. The final aim is to present all sides of an argument and allow the reader to make an informed choice. This type of writing is often used for writing research papers or academic essays. At times, it is also used by journalists to report day-to-day instances in newspapers.
As stated earlier, the key is to be precise, informative and neutral. An expository essay or a paper usually follows a clear organizational pattern and every declarative statement is backed by further evidence. After reading a piece that follows this style of writing, a reader should walk away feeling knowledgeable about an issue in its entirety. Such a piece should look at both sides of the coin i.e. the pros and the cons should be discussed in equal detail. For instance, here is a expository piece of writing about social networking:
“Social networking has been one of the defining features of the 21st century. Statistics revealed that close to 56% Americans have a profile on some form of social networking platform like Facebook, Twitter etc. On the one hand, social networking allows people to communicate on a uniform, global platform, both at a personal and professional level. It has proved to be a huge impetus for the e-commerce industry and has made life easier for millions of people as several services are now offered online. At the same time, issues have been raised about the lack of privacy and the increasing cases of identity thefts on social network platforms. Not to mention the phenomenon of social network addiction and bullying witnessed primarily among teenagers.”
Notice how the language is clear and straightforward. The passage makes a statement, provides statistical proof and goes on to discuss the pros and cons of the topic.
A ‘how-to’ book is one of the simplest forms of expository writing. This course will teach you how to write a great how to book.
2. Persuasive Writing
To understand the difference between expository and persuasive styles of writing, read a newspaper article that reports an incident like a robbery or a car accident, and read an editorial column. You will notice that the latter is written with a clear aim i.e. to establish a set of opinion and discredit the opposing view. More importantly, a persuasive piece of writing tries to win people over to a particular side of an argument. For an even more pronounced example of persuasive writing, read a sales page.
Clearly then, this style of writing works with a certain bias. To put it differently, it is written by someone who has clear convictions about her beliefs and aims to persuade others. This doesn’t mean that she will dismiss the opposing party’s view outright. Instead, the writer will provide the required evidence like statistics, statements made by experts or excerpts from authoritative literature in the respective field. Besides editorials, this style of writing is used for writing personal letters, speeches, magazine articles etc. If the above passage were to be rewritten using persuasive style of writing, this is how it would read:
“Social networking has been defining feature of the 21st century. Statistics revealed that close to 56% Americans have a profile on some form of social networking platform like Facebook, Twitter etc. Ever since its inception, social networks have become the anathema of the modern age. According to a study conducted at Cornell University, social networking fosters an unhealthy sense of relationship among teenagers, devoid of any actual ‘real world’ contact. At the same time, it also leads to addiction, obesity, bullying, and lack of confidence among young adults.”
As opposed to the expository passage, this one focuses on a single side of the debate (that social networks are harmful) and attempts to convince people of its authenticity.
Want to write persuasive salesletters? Learn all about persuasive writing for business in this course.
3. Imaginative Writing
If you have ever read the simplest of fairy tales (who hasn’t really!), you will be familiar with this style of writing. It is a broad category which includes all styles of fiction writing – it could be the dry and barren writing of Ernest Hemingway or the intoxicating magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. As is obvious, imaginative writing doesn’t concern itself with truth or veracity, it is meant to create a narrative which might or might not have an ideological bias.
Imaginative writing can serve a variety of purposes. Among other things, it can entertain or amuse readers, it can force them to think about some serious issues, it can scare them, or it can have a calming effect on them.
Here is an example of how imaginative writing works. If a fiction writer wants to convey his apprehension about the growing popularity of social networking sites among teenagers, he will probably create a plot with a protagonist who is a teenager addicted to Facebook. The sociological effects of Facebook will then be enmeshed into the fictional narrative.
Essentially, these writing styles are different ways of saying the same thing, as the passages provided as examples demonstrate. The final choice depends on the purpose behind writing something and the intended audience. Last but not the least, it all boils down to the style you are most comfortable with.
Ready to start writing fiction? This course on writing young-adult fiction will equip you with all the tools and knowledge you need to get started.