Genres of Writing

There are four main types of writing, namely; descriptive writing, narrative writing, expository writing and argumentative writing. As they are wide, it is of equal magnitude to look at each type of writing solely and keenly examine, analyze and discuss each of the writing techniques required in each writing genre. As a writer, you should be able to understand that no writing task is solely under one writing genre but they are intertwined incorporating either two or thre writing genres in one writing piece.

  1. Descriptive writing

It aims at helping the reader get an impression of the things that are being talked about in detail. A descriptive piece of writing can be made of a person, place, event or anything natural or artificial. Description appeals to our five senses, that is, sight (visual image), smell (olfactory), touch (tactic image), hearing (auditory image) and taste (gustatory). We can have a static description, that is, as something that is still or a cause and effect description that describes how one thing causes and affects another. This style is used in writing to focus on describing a character, event or a place in great detail. Factors to consider in writing a descriptive writing;

  • Writer selectiveness; writers should bear in mind that a description is selective and therefore, one is not under compulsion to appeal to all senses in a single writing.
  • Writer’s point of view; the writer’s view should be stated for credibility purposes. The point of view from which one makes an observation affects their shape, size, colour, etc. However, exaggeration must be avoided.
  • Intended impression; the writer should ensure that the intended impression matches with what is actually created. For example, if you are out to create a picture of a careful sophisticated man, you should watch out lest you end up with one of a proud and unlikable character.
  • The writer’s choice of either being subjective or objective; one can decide to be subjective or objective. In being subjective, they can give views based on their own observation and not what others feel, for example, one may say “he dates old women”, “he dates a 50-year old woman”, ” she is a prostitute “, etc. There should however be a good balance between the subjection.
  • Language of description; this depends on the kind of description one is engaged in, for example, is it scientific or fictional (imaginary or based on observable facts)? One should thus consider factual accuracy versus creating a vivid description.

You should use descriptive writing in; poetry, journal or diary, nature writing, descriptive passages in fiction.

2. Narrative writing
This type of writing tells a story. It involves recounting events and it is mainly used in fiction, creative writing, history and literature reviews. This type of writing can be imaginative, subjective, factual and objective. It is usually characterized by giving an orderly account of an event whether real or imagined. Vocabulary used is usually time based, for example, next, finally, prior to that, as a result, etc.

3. Expository writing
This type of writing is used to define, explain and expound an idea or subject. Various techniques, for example, definitions, analysis, comparisons and contrasts as well as clarifications are used to enable readers to fully understand something eg. glossary of a book. It is mainly used in such writings as newspaper articles, research reports or projects, glossaries, bibliographies, etc.

4. Argumentative writing
This type of writing is done to convince others of the correctness of a given view. It is done by a presentation of points in a logical and constructive way. Its purpose is mainly to persuade readers that your point of view is correct through a series of propositions or generalizations. There must always be relevant and adequate evidence as well as a logical reasoning to reach your conclusion. It should at all times avoid fallacies, that is, subjective opinions. The facts stated should be able to be proved as true or not true and they should appeal to reason.

In the next post, I will be discussing the processes and stages involved in any writing task. We will also look into a greater depth the pitfalls that a writer ought to avoid in order to write a first-grade academic piece. Until next time, lets keep writing. We are the Mosun Writers family!

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