What are the different styles of writing? How many different types of writing styles and forms of writing are there? There is some disagreement of how many major forms of writing there are. Depending on which source you turn to, you might be told there are only four different styles of writing or you might be told there are as many as 12 forms of writing. There is no right or wrong answer to this question as the matter is subjective, but four is the most commonly accepted answer. In this post, we will be breaking down ‘the 4 types of writing’ and, along the way, we’ll explain the ways that some choose to further subdivide those forms of writing. Let’s get started by defining the first of our major forms of writing.

What are the different types of writing formats?

1. Narrative

What are the types of writing? • An introduction to narrative writing

If you are a screenwriter (or wish to become a screenwriter), then this is the writing type most applicable to you. Simply put, narrative writing is storytelling. Narrative writing often falls under the fiction side of the fiction/non-fiction divide and tells a story with character arcs, a plot, and a structure, but narrative writing can also exist in other kinds of writing like structured non-fiction such as a biography that tells someone’s life story.

Narrative writing encompasses prose, screenwriting, and certain types of poetry. Some sources suggest that creative writing should be classified as its own type outside of narrative writing. Check out our collection of creative writing prompts.

Different types of writing genres

2. Descriptive

What types of writing are there?  •  Intro to descriptive writing

Descriptive writing does as the name implies; it describes. Much of descriptive writing is sensory and revolves around sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and feelings. Descriptive writing is often powered by adjectives but is by no means limited to adjectives alone.

The ultimate goal of descriptive writing is to conjure a clear mental image for the reader. Descriptive writing is frequently found in poetry and in prose, but can also be incorporated into most other forms of writing as well, such as in persuasive writing if the goal is to describe or review something; like describing the taste and scent of food in a restaurant review.

Different styles of writing

3. Persuasive

What are the different types of writing formats?  •  A lesson on persuasive essays

The goal of persuasive writing is to convince the reader of a particular stance on a subject. Persuasive writing is often presented in the form of an essay or video essay but may also occur in other forms such as in a highly thematic book or film with a central message it is trying to get across. Persuasive writing is also heavily used in the advertising world to persuade consumers to purchase a product. Persuasive writing also encompasses things like reviews, though some sources suggest that review writing should be classified as its own type.

4 types of writing

4. Expository

The different types of writing genres  •  A lesson in expository writing

Expository writing is the presentation of bonafide information. Expository writing is not the same as exposition in a story, though it does function in a similar way to convey information. There is no opinion or subjective perspective involved in expository writing.

All information included in expository writing should be verifiable through authoritative sources. Expository writing is often found in textbooks, instruction manuals, journalism, and technical writing. Expository writing may be used in support of persuasive writing.

What are the types of writing?

Other classifications

What types of writing are there?  •  The four forms of writing

Aside from the four main kinds of writing we’ve defined above and the additional subclassifications others use that we’ve mentioned, there are alternative ways to separate different styles of writing based upon different criteria. If you wish to create a simple, binary division, you could divide all writing into either fiction or non-fiction.

Another binary divide could classify writing as either objective or subjective. Writing can also be distinguished by medium: prose, poetry, stage play, screenplay, teleplay, essay, etc.


How to Write Every Day

Now that you have a thorough grasp of the different styles of writing, it’s the perfect time to develop your overall writing skills. No matter which type of writing you specialize in, developing better writing habits will always lead to improvement. Up next, learn tactics and tricks to help you write every day.

Up Next: How to Write Daily →
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  • Sam Kench is an internationally-awarded screenwriter, independent filmmaker, and film critic. Lover of foreign films; hater of American remakes.

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