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Learn How To Improve Your Fictional and Non-Fictional Writing Skills

Updated on September 12, 2014

Plan To Write, Write With A Plan

For some it appears that they can just flowingly write and that may be true for some more experienced writers but many must plan in order to complete a product to be proud of. Some items to consider when preparing to write

  • Who is your audience
  • What is the subject
  • Is it fact or fiction
  • Create an outline of thoughts to cover
  • Write – even if you skip around in the outline
  • Take a break
  • Edit – either by you or someone else
  • Complete

Writing: Fact or Fiction

Do you love to write, either for fun, experience or for money? No matter the reason or purpose for your writing there are specific rules and techniques that ensure successful results. Being successful includes incorporating the appropriate strategy. So depending on the genre your writing will follow certain technique. Though there are some overarching general rules to victory. Some tips for fruitful writing:

  • Know your audience. Writing that appeals to your audience equals effective material. For example, if you are writing for children you want to tailor your vocabulary to that population. Or if you are writing a mystery know the elements of style that is likely to draw in readers. Identify what it takes to create this type of work by reading other books of the same nature.
  • Make an outline. When writing, outlines make it easier to have a clear idea of your objectives and help to avoid leaving out important aspects. By defining main points and what you want to convey to your audience assists in eliminating difficult transitions and getting lost in your ideas.
  • Edit your product. Nothing is perfect the first time. Revisions and edits can help to make your final product clear and precise. Creating a great product takes time, so the first draft allows the author to get out the ideas editing is that additional step to ensure the thoughts are clear. Know your writing – some edit multiple times. When editing give yourself a break, it is not recommended to edit right after writing. Your mind has not been cleared of the material enough to catch mistakes. Ensure to remove grammatical errors.

Writing Style

There are several different styles of writing – both can be appropriately used for fictional and factual writing. A few writing styles include expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative.

  • Expository writing is logical and sequential in nature and commonly reports the facts.
  • Descriptive writing is the author’s way of bringing you to into the story by elaborating personal details related to people, places, things and situations.
  • Persuasive writing includes a person’s opinion and draws the reader to one side of an argument.
  • Narrative writing is the author essentially telling a story by setting the scene and having a distinct beginning, themes, conflicts and ending.

Now I will define how each style works with fictional and non-fictional writing.

Fictional Writing

Writing Fiction

Fictional writing is based on the writer’s imagination and flows into a captivating story line that keeps the reader entertained. To me this may be the easier way to write if you have a lot of stored information, an elaborative vocabulary and a hefty imagination. Fictional writing does not have limitations, is not based on fact and thereby can flow right out on the page. How does fictional writing relate to style – well here are some examples:

  • Descriptive style is a very common approach to fictional writing. This allows the author to use fantasy while drawing the reader in. Setting the scene, describing the environment of the scene and giving a good account of the characters are all ways of using the descriptive style.

“It was a dark night with thunderstorms in the distance. She stood outside with the breeze in her hair and not a care in the world.”

  • Persuasive style in fictional writing, though not based on facts uses an imagined concept to gain the writer’s attention. The author brings a one sided perception to the reader without using references to substantiate the claim. Being careful with this style to inform the reader that it is an opinion and not fact by using words such as in my opinion or in my experience.

“In my opinion my poodle is a smarter dog than my Chihuahua. She was potty trained quickly and sleeps in a kennel at night as opposed to my Chihuahua who is the opposite.”

  • Narrative writing allows the writer to create a story from start to finish using the characters as the narrators of the story. Many fictional novels use this type of writing to tell a creative story – which frequently leads into sequential novels such as the Twilight series. Narrative writing can be based on true stories or facts but some parts are elaborated upon or facts changed to protect the true character.

Once upon a time in the forest……happily ever after.”

Writing Non-Fiction

Writing fictional manuscripts require facts therefore it is essential to prepare by gathering the information that will be used. This type of writing does not require elaborative descriptions but does require citations as ways to avoid plagiarizing others work – which is a big no-no when paraphrasing. Any piece of written material should contain no more than 10 percent of other’s information to keep you free of infringing on plagiarizing rules. What can assist in the process of gathering information and laying it out includes an outline and references. If you preplan when writing non-fiction then putting the words on the page become simplified. Once the data is collected here is how style fits this foundation of writing.

  • Expository writing allows the writer to describe in sequence information to the reader. For instance this is used with newspaper or magazine articles. This style can be helpful when writing reports, research, and any material that requires a series of events to be described.

“Robbery suspects shot by police.”

  • Persuasive writing focuses on facts and perception. This allows the author to use fact to argue a pros and cons of a particular subject. For example, a person can persuade an audition for or against the rights of abortion. Literature reviews and research frequently rely of this category of writing. Don’t forget to cite other people’s work when using previously documented research or any information that is not public domain.

  • Narrative writing allows the author to tell a story using facts. Similar to how it is used in fictional writing except it is based on the truth or the person’s perception of the truth. One great example of this is an autobiography. Autobiographies is the authors depiction of their life in sequence using memories recalled to the best of their ability and perception, therefore, it is considered factual writing since it is their account of events. However, this is common that two people that have similar encounters release their perception of events, which are commonly very different. That is due to the greatness of perception but it does not mean that either of them is not truthful it means that they experience different truths.

What type of writing do you enjoy most?

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Well that is the tip of the iceberg as it pertains to writing, style and content. Hopefully this was informative and helps to ignite your creative juices while affording happy and fruitful writing. Again remember to edit and use appropriate grammar.


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