Informative writing is a type of fiction narrative that’s used to relay factual information to the reader (even when the facts are completely made up.)
Its purpose is to educate the reader on the particulars of a specific topic so that they can gain more insights into the story.
A famous example in literature is when the captain of the Nautilus explains in extreme detail to his reluctant guest how the fictional submarine’s powerful electrical propulsion system and floodable stabilization tanks work, even though a submersible with those capabilities was science fiction at the time.
Informative writing uses interesting facts, data, and statistics to make arguments or explain background knowledge to the reader that’s necessary to advance your plot.
Now, there are five types of informative writing and each type has its own unique structure and purpose. In this blog post, I’ll describe them in detail and show you examples of informative writing from popular fiction authors.
The 5 Types of Informative Writing
There are five types of informative writing, depending on the nature of the facts that you’re trying to convey. They have different applications and each fulfills a different purpose and narrative goal.
Below you’ll find a brief description of each informative writing type with some examples for your reference:
1) Expository Writing
Expository writing is a type of informational writing that’s used to explain events in a story, or to explain new concepts.
Expository writing uses evidence and examples to support its arguments and it must be easy for readers to understand, even if they don’t have any subject-matter knowledge.
For expository writing to be effective, you need to break down the subject into smaller believable parts and explain each in detail.
For example, you could use expository writing to provide a detailed look into the plans of the villain in your story to successfully break into a high-security government facility undetected in order to steal something of interest.
2) Descriptive Writing
Descriptive Writing is a type of informative writing that uses sensory details to describe a person, place, or thing in detail. It uses vivid language and detailed descriptions to paint a picture in the readers’ minds.
This type of writing can be used to describe people, places, or things. Using descriptive writing in your fiction helps your readers feel more immersed in your story.
For example, if you’re describing a person, don’t just list physical attributes — instead mention the way their hair feels when they brush it back or how their eyes sparkle when they laugh.
For a place you might want to talk about the scent of freshly cut grass, the sound of waves crashing against the shoreline, or the smell of a rainy day.
In addition, focus on providing details that will enable readers to visualize what’s happening in the story as if they were actually there themselves. This will help create a more immersive, and therefore believable, experience.
Finally, make sure that all elements in your descriptive writing are consistent throughout your story — this will help you maintain credibility with your readers and keep them engaged.
3) Comparison/Contrast Writing
Comparison/contrast writing is a type of informational writing that compares two or more things that are instrumental for your plot and therefore need to be clearly understood by your readers.
For example, you can use comparison/contrast devices such as flashbacks or foreshadowing to add tension and suspense to your story.
A word of caution: avoid clichéd comparisons; these tend to be overused and lack originality.
4) Cause and Effect Writing
Cause and effect writing explains what happens as a result of an action or event. It can be used to explain why a character made a certain decision, or why an event happened in your story.
Cause and effect writing typically starts by introducing the topic and then stating the cause. This is then followed by an explanation of how the cause led to the effect.
Here is an example of cause and effect writing about a character’s decision:
Bob decided to quit his job because he felt unfulfilled. He had been working there for two years and felt like he wasn’t making enough of an impact or progress in the company.
And here’s a cause and effect example related to an event:
The hurricane caused significant damage to the city. Strong winds wreaked havoc on buildings, uprooting trees and tearing down power lines. The storm surge also caused flooding that destroyed homes and businesses in its path.
In short, the goal of this type of informative writing is to provide clear details to help readers understand the cause and effect relationship between events or decisions.
5) Persuasive Writing
Persuasive writing is a type of informational writing used to endow a leading character or a narrator with the language necessary to persuade others into embracing their cause.
To make your character’s power of persuasion effective, use strong language to support their opinion as well as evidence to back up their claims. Make them use a logical flow of arguments and counterarguments.
Finally, make sure that your persuasive writing is convincing and helps readers understand your character’s motivations clearly.
Examples of Informative Writing from Famous Fiction Authors
Famous authors have been using informative writing in their fiction texts since time immemorial. Here are some examples:
Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” is an example of informative writing. It describes the struggles that an aging fisherman faces as he attempts to catch a giant marlin.
Through rich descriptions, detailed explanations, and convincing arguments, Hemingway manages to make his story come alive with highly relevant information.
Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” is another example of informative writing. It uses narration, description, exposition, and argumentation to showcase the systemic racial injustice of the court system in the American South during the great depression.
Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”. This novel uses description, exposition, and persuasion to explain the intricacies of Russian society during the Napoleonic Wars, as well as the effects of war on individuals.
Through vivid descriptions, Tolstoy creates an informative narrative that delves into the complexities of human relationships and how they get shaped by the circumstances of war.
Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind” is an informative writing example that uses narration, description, exposition, and persuasion to explain life in the antebellum South and its aftermath.
Through detailed research and powerful language, Mitchell paints a picture of life in this period that’s both highly accurate and captivating.
Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. In this novel, Shelley uses descriptive language and arguments to explore themes such as identity, morality, and science run amok.
Through careful analysis and persuasive language, she creates a story that’s both informative and thought-provoking.
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” uses description and argumentation to explore themes such as guilt, redemption, justice, morality and society’s obligations to those who have been wronged by it — all while maintaining a suspenseful atmosphere.
Through vivid descriptions of characters and their motivations behind their actions, Dostoevsky manages to create an informative yet engaging narrative about justice in 19th century Russia.
The power of informative writing lies in its ability to bring stories to life, allowing you to create detailed and engaging stories that captivate your audiences.
With informative writing anything is possible, including creating entirely fictitious yet believable words chockablock with pseudo science — it’s up to your creativity as to how far you want to take it!
Whether you’re a fiction writer or just want to learn more about this technique, understanding the different types of informative writing available and reading examples from famous fiction authors will help you develop your skills and improve your storytelling capabilities.
Harry Wallett is the Founder and Managing Director of Relay Publishing. Combining his entrepreneurial background with a love of great stories, Harry founded Relay in 2013 as a fresh way to create books and for writers to earn a living from their work. Since then, Relay has sold 3+ million copies and worked with 100s of writers on bestselling titles such as Defending Innocence, The Alveria Dragon Akademy Series and Rancher’s Family Christmas. Harry oversees the creative direction of the company, and works to develop a supportive collaborative environment for the Relay team to thrive within in order to fulfill our mission to create unputdownable books.
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