Definition: Your writing style is the way your writing comes across to your readers, and it includes sentence structure, syntax, and voice.

When writing for an audience, it’s important to engage them in a way that suits your purpose and message while also holding their attention. This is where writing styles come to the rescue.

While there’s an abundance of styles available in the writer’s tool chest to achieve different outcomes, there are five key writing styles that are uniquely suited for engaging and retaining readers.

Each of these five styles has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and can be used by themselves or in combination, depending on the needs of your particular project.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these five writing styles and discuss how they can be implemented to achieve your writing goals.

What Are the 5 Writing Styles to Engage Your Audience?

The five types of writing styles shown below are equally applicable to fiction and nonfiction.

Now, keep in mind that your choice of style shouldn’t be based on personal preference but on the needs of your readers.

Also, there’s no “right” or “wrong” choice here. Each writing style has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the nature of your writing and the message you’re trying to convey.

Some writing styles may be better suited for eliciting an emotion, others may be more effective at highlighting important information that you want readers to retain, while others may be called for in order to persuade them to take a particular action.

In the end, effective writing is about connecting with your audience, and choosing the right style, or combination of styles, can help you accomplish this goal.

Whether you’re writing a story, an article, a blog post, or other type of content, the following five key writing styles will help you engage your readers and keep them glued to the page:

Narrative Writing Style

When doing creative writing, your goal is to create an engaging experience that draws readers in and keeps them hooked through the end.

To do this, you need to make sure that everything — from your characters, storyline, and setting  — feels real and believable.

The narrative style helps accomplish the above through the use of dialogue, pacing, and dramatic tension to keep things interesting.

When writing in this style, it’s important to find the right balance in your narrative to make sure your readers feel like they’re experiencing your story, rather than simply reading about it.

If you over-narrate by providing more information than is needed to convey your message, you’ll risk losing the connection.

So, how can you make use of the narrative writing style to engage your audience?

Here are some tips:

  • Develop characters and storylines that have high levels of emotional impact
  • Use a variety of writing techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and dramatic tension, to engage readers
  • Include plenty of interesting details to help readers really immerse themselves in your story so they get to “experience” your narrative
  • But… stay away from excessive, unnecessary detail, which can overwhelm readers and turn them off

Expository Writing Style

While narrative writing is all about creating a story, expository writing focuses on providing factual information.

This writing style is typically used to deliver important details in a clear and straightforward manner.

Expositions are often found in works of nonfiction, such as business writing, scientific writing, academic writing, and technical writing, but they can also be useful for engaging your fiction audience when you need to provide important background information as part of your story telling.

When using the expository writing style, it’s important to present your information clearly, keep things organized, and avoid getting bogged down with unnecessary details.

Some tips for using this writing style effectively include:

  • Organize your writing around a central theme or topic
  • Use clear and concise language to convey your message
  • Avoid getting bogged down in minutiae or going off on tangents
  • Make sure your writing is focused, organized, and easy to understand
  • Refrain from using “flowery” language or make excessive use of adjectives.  Doing either will make your expository writing less believable

Descriptive Writing Style

The Descriptive Style

If you want to paint a vivid picture about an experience, then the descriptive writing style is the perfect choice for engaging your readers’ imagination.

Whether you’re relating an event from history or what it’s like to walk through a dystopian landscape on another planet, using the descriptive style can help your readers clearly see and feel what you’re writing about.

However, writing descriptively can also be challenging, because it relies on your ability to use sensory language to describe your world in vivid detail.

Your goal with the descriptive writing style is to allow your readers to truly envision and experience the things you’re writing about as if they were actually “there” instead of reading words from a page.

Here are some tips for using the descriptive writing style effectively:

  • Use concrete details and sensory language to enact vivid images in your readers’ minds
  • Paint a picture with your writing by using all five senses in your description — sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste
  • Avoid relying too much on words like “it” or “this”, which don’t provide much detail
  • Focus on the use of strong verbs and adjectives to make your writing feel alive
  • Make sure your writing is easy for readers to understand by avoiding using descriptive references that are too obscure and therefore hard for readers to relate to

Persuasive Writing Style

When writing persuasively, you’re trying to convince your readers of an outcome.

This writing style can be used for everything from convincing audiences to buy a product or service to influencing them to take action on an important issue. As such, the persuasive writing style is mostly used in works of nonfiction, in marketing copy, and in political outreach.

To effectively engage your audience with persuasive writing, you need to make it clear what you want them to do and you also need to provide compelling reasons for why they should take a particular action.

For example, you may be writing about a cause or issue that’s close to your heart, like a political speech, an editorial or fundraising cover letters, and then persuasive writing will better help you get others on board with your ideas.

Some tips for writing persuasively include:

  • Identify the specific action that you want your audience to take
  • Provide compelling reasons that will motivate them to act
  • Use clear and convincing language throughout your writing
  • Avoid using manipulative or overly aggressive tactics in your writing that may make your message appear suspect
  • Be persistent and consistent in your writing, even when faced with obstacles or opposition

Analytical Writing Style

The analytical writing style is often used to examine and assess a particular topic. This writing style can be particularly useful when you’re writing a paper or essay that requires you to form an argument and provide evidence for your position.

When writing analytically, it’s important to present all of the relevant information in an organized manner so that readers can easily understand your argument.

You should also use strong reasoning skills, as well as support from credible sources where appropriate.

By engaging your audience with analytical writing, you’ll show them how the topic is relevant to their lives and why they should care about it.

Some tips for writing analytically include:

  • Present all of the key information about your topic in an organized, logical manner
  • Support your writing with credible sources and strong reasoning skills
  • Avoid using overly complex language that may be above the level of comprehension of your target audience. Make sure you always write a way that they can understand and relate to.
  • Avoid making assumptions that aren’t backed up by clear evidence

How Do You Choose a Writing Style

How do you choose a writing style

Some factors to consider when choosing a writing style include:

Your topic and purpose — The choice of writing style will often depend on what you’re writing about and why.

For example, if you need to deliver key information or present data in an objective manner, then expository writing may be the best option.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to convince readers to take a desired action, then writing persuasively will be a more effective approach.

Your audience — Your writing style should also be influenced by who your audience is and what they’re looking for.

For example, if you’re writing to a general or less-informed audience, then using simple language may help make your writing more accessible.

On the other hand, writing in an analytical style that incorporates strong reasoning skills may be better suited to an audience of experts or professionals, who may disregard simple writing as amateurish.

So, it’s critical that you spend a reasonable amount of time getting to know your target audience well before you choose your writing styles.

Your writing skills — Ultimately, how you choose to write will also depend on your own writing abilities and comfort level with the different writing styles.

If you feel confident in your writing skills and are comfortable trying out different approaches, then experimenting with different writing styles can be a great way to try different ways to engage your audience.

However, if you’re not sure about your writing abilities or have less experience writing in a particular style, always start out with the style that feels the most familiar and comfortable for you to write with.

What Is the Difference Between Style and Tone in Writing?

Style and tone are two important elements of writing that can greatly affect the overall quality and effectiveness of your content. However, they’re often mistaken for one another, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

Style is the overall look or feel of your writing, as showcased with the above five writing styles.

Tone, on the other hand, refers to the attitude or emotional feeling that your writing evokes in readers. For example, your tone could be friendly, sad, angry, sarcastic, and so on.

It’s important to be aware of both your style and tone when writing, as they can have a big impact on how your content will be received by your readers.

If you’re not sure about what tone and style to use in your writing project, take a look at other pieces of writing that are in a similar genre and target a similar audience.

This will give you a good idea of what works well in your niche and will help you create content that’s both compelling and engaging. Whichever combination of writing style and tone you choose, make sure to be always clear, consistent, and intentional in your writing.

Tips for Improving Your Writing Style

Why is style important in writing

The following tips will help you improve your writing style and become a more confident and effective writer:

  • Start by conducting thorough research on your topic. This will help ensure that you have the necessary background knowledge to write effectively
  • Pay attention to the level of formality that’s appropriate for your writing project and be consistent with this tone throughout your content. For example, if you want to sound authoritative, avoid using colloquial language that may seem unprofessional or too casual. Conversely, if you’re writing for a more casual audience, then make ample use of informal techniques like contractions and slang in order to connect with them
  • Use active verbs, strong nouns, and concrete imagery in your writing wherever possible to help keep your writing engaging and easy to understand. For example, if you choose the descriptive writing style, instead of saying “The weather was warm,” you may instead want to say “The sun shone brightly on the blue sky.”
  • Be aware of common mistakes that can affect the effectiveness or clarity of your writing, such as overly complicated sentence structures or incorrect spelling and grammar. Taking the time to review and revise your writing will make a world of difference in the reach of your final product.
  • Finally, make sure to always get feedback on your writing from others, whether it’s formal feedback from peers (writers, editors, coaches, etc.) or informal feedback from test readers.


In order to engage your audience, it’s important to choose the right writing style. Each writing style has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to select the one that will be most effective for your particular writing needs.

It’s also important to be aware of your tone when writing, as this can greatly affect how your content is perceived.

By keeping the above tips in mind as you write, you’ll be able to create content that truly engages your readers and effectively communicates your ideas.


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 InnocenceThe 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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