It’s good to have a variety of tools in your toolbox.

That’s why you should learn about different writing styles. A writing style can be technical or literary, creative or instructive. In fact, there are so many different types of writing that calling yourself a “writer” is kind of like calling yourself a person.

Here are 12 types of writing to study as you cultivate your craft.

Why Study a Different Writing Style?

This is largely a business writing blog, but business writing gets real boring real quick. By studying other types of writing techniques, you can spice up your short stories and develop your own tone and voice.

For years, my main job was working as a sales copywriter. I focused on precise language and manipulated a reader’s mind. When I enrolled in night school for journalism, I discovered all these different styles that fascinated and excited me. They breathed new life into my writing craft, and my how-to articles got better along the way as well.

Pick and choose the writing styles that are most relevant to you. Here are a dozen formats to know about, along with what makes each of them unique.

12 Writing Styles to Know as You Cultivate Your Craft

  1. Narrative writing.
  2. Descriptive writing.
  3. Expository writing.
  4. Persuasive writing.
  5. Argumentative writing.
  6. Literary writing.
  7. Technical writing.
  8. Journalistic writing.
  9. SEO writing.
  10. Academic writing.
  11. Scriptwriting.
  12. Creative writing.

No. 1: Narrative Writing

Narrative writing captivates the reader by telling a story. It focuses on characters, setting, plot, and conflict to engage the audience.

Writers employing this style often use the following techniques to evoke emotion:

  • Character development. In this style, readers are connecting more with the human emotions in the story.
  • Plot. Building suspense throughout the story keeps the reader interested.
  • Literary devices. Figures of speech help make the text more interesting.

Mastering narrative writing enables you to create vivid worlds and develop compelling characters that resonate with readers.

No. 2: Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing paints a picture using sensory details and vivid imagery. It appeals to the five senses, allowing readers to visualize the scene and connect with the writing on a deeper level.

Descriptive writing differs from narrative writing in that it focuses more intensely on description and world-building. Savvy writers utilize vivid descriptions in their descriptive writing examples to bring life to their stories, making them more immersive and unforgettable.

You don’t need to apply the principles of descriptive writing to an entire piece. Consider using descriptive writing in a scene-setting lead or opening paragraph to create variety.

No. 3: Expository Writing

Of all the types of writing styles, this one is my favorite and the one I personally use the most.

Expository writing provides information, explains ideas, or presents arguments in a clear and concise manner. It aims to educate and inform readers by presenting facts, statistics, and evidence. Your expository writing examples should be clear and concise.

Types of writing that follow this expository format include:

  • How-to posts.
  • Textbooks.
  • Industry blogs.

Becoming proficient in expository writing allows you to effectively communicate complex ideas and convey information in a straightforward way. It’s a really valuable skill.

No. 4: Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing aims to persuade or influence the readers' opinions or actions. It employs logical reasoning, emotional appeals, and strong arguments to convince the audience of a particular viewpoint.

It pays to be persuasive – literally. Copywriting is one of the most lucrative forms of writing, and the ability to convince readers to take an action or make a purchase is one of the most valuable skills you’ll develop in your online career.

Common persuasive writing formats include:

  • Website copy.
  • Signup form language.
  • Sales page language.
  • Sales emails.
  • Social media and/or Google ads.

Developing persuasive writing skills enables you to effectively convince others to see things from your perspective.

No. 5: Argumentative Writing

Argumentative writing presents a clear stance on a particular topic and supports it with evidence and logical reasoning. It requires thorough research and critical thinking to construct well-supported arguments. Proficiency in argumentative writing equips you with the tools to defend your perspective and engage in meaningful debates.

On the article side, one of the most common types of argumentative writing is the editorial. Sometimes called an opinion editorial or op-ed, the editorial is an article format that uses argumentative writing to bring commentary or opinion into a mainstream media outlet.

Argumentative writing differs from persuasive writing in that it has more of a narrative style, and argumentative essays may employ more literary devices or other educational elements of the expository style.

No. 6: Literary Writing

Literary writing emphasizes artistic expression and creative language to evoke emotions and explore complex themes. It is often poetic, with a focus on symbolism, metaphor, and rich imagery.

Your favorite novel is a great example of literary writing. Short stories and bestselling novels use principles of this style to romance their readers. While it’s not an appropriate format for business writing pursuits, its principles are terrific for teaching you the art of good storytelling.

No. 7: Technical Writing

Someone wrote that instruction manual you look at (or don’t look at) when you buy and unpack a new gadget. This style of writing is technical writing.

Technical writing aims to provide instructions, explanations, or information about complex technical concepts. It requires clarity, precision, and organization to effectively communicate specialized information.

Developing technical writing skills allows you to create user manuals, technical guides, and standard operating procedures that are easily understood by your intended audience. Personal opinion and figurative language have many places to live, but a technical document is not one of them; aspire to write in an objective style.

No. 8: Journalistic Writing

Journalistic writing focuses on delivering factual information in a concise and unbiased manner.

It leans heavily into the inverted pyramid style, and is a formal writing approach that prioritizes short paragraphs and gives readers the facts in an objective tone.

News writing adheres to the principles of accuracy, objectivity, and fairness. Journalistic writing enables you to report news, share informative articles, and contribute to the public's understanding of current events.

No. 9: SEO Writing

Blog writing is conversational and personal, aiming to connect with readers on a more informal level. It often includes personal anecdotes and engages in a dialogue with the audience. One category of blog writing is SEO writing.

Search Engine Optimization is a powerful growth lever. When you optimize your articles for search engines, it’s more likely that they will appear in search engine results pages (SERPs), which can help you reach more readers.

Examples of SEO content include:

  • Review writing: First hand accounts of products or services.
  • Writing for a specific target audience.
  • Book reviews.

Mastering SEO writing ensures your articles have longevity and continue to be seen by new readers.

No. 10: Academic Writing

Academic writing adheres to very specific rules and guidelines, focusing on research, analysis, and critical thinking. These rules are what make academic writing a distinct subset of expository writing.

Scientific writing often falls into this category as well, because scientific writing in journals must withstand considerable peer scrutiny in order to be published.

Both academic and scientific writing are formal and objective, using scholarly language to convey ideas. Proficiency in academic writing enables you to excel in your studies, write research papers, and contribute to academic discourse.

No. 11: Scriptwriting

Scriptwriting, also known as screenwriting, involves writing scripts for various mediums, such as film, television, stage, or radio.

It requires a strong understanding of storytelling, structure, and dialogue. Developing scriptwriting skills allows you to create compelling narratives that come to life on the screen or stage, skills that translate well into other styles.

No. 12: Creative Writing

Creative writing abandons form and leans entirely into creativity.

This style isn’t my area of expertise, but I love and fangirl on creative writers, who take us to other worlds and make us think deeply about our humanity. If you want to really challenge yourself and mix things up, consider taking a creative writing class and see what happen.

Uplevel Your Writing Craft By Learning New Styles

As you build your writing toolbox, familiarizing yourself with different writing styles is essential. Embrace variety and you’ll see your prose improve with time. ◆

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