How to Choose the Best Writing Style | 123Read&Write


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When deciding on what writing style to take for a particular assignment, the key advice is to ask yourself "Who is my audience?" For example, your writing style would be different in writing to your friend as opposed to a teacher. They are two completely different audiences. The next item to think of is "Why are you writing this piece?" If your teacher asks you to write a letter to the main character of a story, before you write one single word, you should realize the following:

Audience = teacher

Purpose = to write a letter to the main character in the story

Once you've decided on both audience and purpose, you're well on your way to developing your written piece of work. There are many, many styles or forms of writing to choose from. Below is a list of various forms of writing. Not all would work for every assignment, which is why understanding the purpose is so important!

Anecdote - A short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. 

Autobiography - An account of a person's life written by that person.

Biography - An account of someone's life written by someone else.

Book Review - A critical review of a book (usually one which has been recently published).

Character Sketch - Short writing focusing on a particular character within a story.

Composition - A more in depth piece of writing; usually longer than a simple paragraph.

Descriptive Writing - Writing which utilizes the five senses and adjectives to create a picture in the reader's mind.

Editorial - A form of writing which offers an opinion (i.e. newspaper editorial section).

Essay - A short literary composition dealing with a subject analytically or speculatively. Essays are typically three or more paragraphs combined (i.e. opening, body, closing).

Expository Writing - Writing where the main purpose is to explain, inform, or even describe. Most of what people read and see during the day is expository information.

Fable - A short story, typically with animals as characters, teaching some form of lesson.

Fantasy -  Writing whichincorporates magic and other supernatural phenomena as the main element of plot, theme, and/or setting.

Freewriting - Simple writing form which the writer can write in any way to choose.

Historical Fiction - Fictional writing in which the story is mixed with made up and realistic components. Usually, in Historical Fiction, the setting is the key component to keep accurate.

Myth - Writing typically about an ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society.

Narrative - Writing about an event in a personal way.

Novel - narrative writing of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

Personal Narrative - A piece of writing written in first person, documents a person’s experience. 

Persuasive Writing - Writng also known as an argument, which is used to convince the reader of a writer’s argument(s) relating to a debatable topic. 

Play - A form of writing which utilizes dialogue (conversation between two or more characters) to portray a story; usually intended to be performed for an audience.

Poem - writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song, and that is usually rhythmical, symbolic and metaphorical.

Proposal - Writing which incorporates information about an idea or concept that is in need of an approval. 

Research Paper - Written in essay format, this form of writing offers information on a particular topic, which has been researched thoroughly, is organized and written to specific criteria. 

Science Fiction - a form of fictional writing that draws imaginatively on scientific knowledge, technology, and speculation in its story elements. 

Short Story - A short piece of writing with minimal characters and one main conflict.

Summary - Writing which incorporates only the key components of a larger piece of writing (i.e. main ideas).

Tall Tale - An exaggerated, unreliable story, which utilizes a character or animal: “My uncle claims that he was raised in a drainage ditch, but it's just another of his tall tales.” 

Tragedy - Writing in which the hero is killed because of an internal or external conflict (often because of a flaw of their own.) An example is Shakespeare's Hamlet. Hamlet is killed in a duel, because he was possessed by avenging the death of his father. 

Reference: Kemper, Dave, Patrick Sebranek, Chris Krenzke, and Verne Meyer. Write Source. Orlando, FL.: Great Source, 2012. Print.

You Give It a Go!

Directions: Take the two writing assignments below. Read them carefully and decide which writing forms would best fit for your audience and purpose.

Assignment 1: Your teacher has asked you to write an essay on how sharks hunt for their food. The teacher also wants you to include a bibliography to show where you found your information.

Audience = 

Purpose =

Writing Style(s) = 

Assignment 2: Your soccer coach has asked you to write a paragraph on why you would be a good member of the team.

Audience =

Purpose = 

Writing Style(s) =