Do you struggle to express yourself on the page? Perhaps you’re unsure of the difference between a descriptive and persuasive writing style. Maybe you want to understand how assonance and alliteration can bolster your creative writing style.
Whether you’re writing a novel, collection of short stories, blog post, or interested in developing your business writing, understanding the fundamental approach to each writing style puts you more firmly in the driving seat.
This article will help perfect your creative English writing skills and techniques and bolster the clarity of your English writing skills.
What are the five main writing techniques to know?
Regardless of the content, there are five principal writing styles and techniques that writers employ:
- Expository writing
- Descriptive writing style
- Persuasive writing
- Narrative writing techniques
- Journalistic writing techniques
And within those categories, there are literary devices that help us bring color to the page, such as:
- Alliteration and assonance
There’s quite a lot to cover here. So let’s not hang around the doorstep; come in!
And let’s get started.
What is expository writing?
Expository writing is a writing technique that aims to explain and educate. It provides background information on a topic and explains complex issues in detail.
Expository writing typically focuses on facts and data rather than opinion or emotion. For example, a science article about the planets might start by discussing their relative sizes and distances from the sun before delving into more complicated topics such as their atmospheres.
Expository writing is an essential tool for communicating complex information to a broad audience.
What is descriptive writing?
Descriptive writing seeks to describe, evoke or portray a person, place, object, or experience through vivid detail and sensory language.
Descriptive writing uses concrete details rather than abstract concepts.
For one example, you could write, “the dog was friendly.” However, a more descriptive writer might write, “the dog wagged its tail eagerly and licked the boy’s face with joy.”
This writing technique can create an atmosphere, evoke emotions, or add detail to a scene.
What is persuasive writing?
Persuasive writing is a writing style that attempts to convince the audience to take a particular point of view or take a specific action.
It’s often used in advertising, politics, essays, articles, and other forms of writing, where the writer makes a case for their position by providing evidence, such as facts and statistics, anecdotes, and research.
The ultimate goal of persuasive writing is to convince the reader that their point of view is correct.
Find out more about mastering the art of persuasive writing.
What is narrative writing?
Narrative writing is one of the most valuable English writing techniques for novelists because it aims to tell a fictional story. It typically features characters, settings, and events over time.
Narrative writing can also tell a non-fiction story, such as an autobiography or memoir, which recounts personal experiences. In both cases, narrative writing is characterized by an engaging plot and vivid description of characters and their motivations.
At its heart, narrative writing techniques are about creating an immersive experience for the reader. Whether through a thrilling plot or vivid imagery and description, excellent narrative English writing techniques will always leave the reader with an unforgettable story experience.
What is journalistic writing?
Journalistic writing informs and entertains. It typically involves reporting events, current affairs, or other newsworthy topics objectively and factually. It can capture attention and convey complex information in an accessible way, making it an invaluable tool for communication.
Journalistic writing is a particular process that requires both research and critical analysis. It is crucial to identify relevant facts and translate them into a coherent narrative that readers can understand.
Journalistic writers must have effective communication skills, an eye for detail, and the ability to ask the right questions. Additionally, they need a clear understanding of ethical reporting standards and a sense of how to use them in their work.
Literary Devices to Improve your Writing Technique
A metaphor is a writing technique or figure of speech where a phrase or word is associated with a separate object or idea to describe something familiar in a different way.
For example, when describing how a newspaper editor works, one might write, “the editor sifted for gold through the news items presented to him from his team.” This metaphor implies that the editor was searching diligently through a lot of material and was looking for something valuable. But he wasn’t expecting to find “literal” gold.
Metaphors bring color and imagination to our writing skills, helping our writing stand out as creative and skillful. Whether you’re writing a novel, journalistic articles, or a blog post, effective use of metaphor helps the writer bring their words to life.
A simile is a writing technique that compares two objects or ideas using the words “like” or “as.” It’s different from a metaphor, which also makes a comparison but does not use these words.
Similes can be more straightforward for readers to understand, often used to make descriptions more vivid or to emphasize a point. Metaphors, on the other hand, can be more subtle and suggestive.
Great examples of similes include:
The sun was like a giant ball of fire in the sky
Her voice is as sweet as honey.
Both these sentences compare two different things — the sun and a person’s voice — by using the words “like” or “as.” Similes can be a fun and powerful way to add depth and emotion to your writing, and they are often used in literature and poetry.
By comparing two objects or ideas with similes, writers can create vivid images that help readers better understand a concept.
Imagery in writing is the use of language to create vivid mental images that help a reader feel a certain way and more lucidly envision a scene, setting, or character more clearly.
Imagery helps evoke feelings, senses, and emotions by appealing to the reader’s senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.
Imagery can of course be expressed through descriptive language, metaphors, similes, and other literary devices.
For example, a writer might describe a character’s face as “porcelain” to evoke certain emotions and images in the reader’s mind. Or you might try to conjure up a setting by describing the smells and sounds, relying on the sensory experience to bring the location to life.
Alliteration and assonance
Alliteration and assonance involve the repetition of similar sounds in literary works.
Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds. On the other hand, assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds.
For example, in the phrase “softly singing song,” the ‘s’ sound is repeated – this is an example of alliteration. Whereas in the phrase “lazy days,” the ‘a’ sound is repeated – this is an example of assonance.
Alliteration and assonance can make your writing feel more interesting and engaging, as it adds a level of rhyme or rhythm and can draw attention to certain words or ideas. They can also aid in creating a particular tone, atmosphere, or mood, as they are often used to create poetic devices such as anaphora (repeating words at the beginning of consecutive sentences) or onomatopoeia (words that imitate sounds).
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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.