Writing Course: Styles/Categories of Writing

This is the second part of the previous post. The topic was too long to do in one sitting.

3b: Styles/Categories of Writing

Indigenous Writing: In recent years there has been an increase in Aboriginal writing. The literary voices of Aboriginal people are still being discovered and as this happens Australian literature evolves in authenticity and integrity and the prospects of understanding between cultures is enriched.

Women’s Writing: A new wave of writing came about in the 1960s and 1970s which is broadly described as feminist or women’s writing. This type of writing explores the lives of women and their role in society, and how these things have been documented in history.

Multicultural Writing: The influx of migrants to Australia has resulted in a new literature referred to as multicultural writing. It explores the migrant experience and can be seen as quite controversial.

Gay/Lesbian Writing: Another area of controversy. Some believe gay and lesbian writing is that specifically written by gays and lesbians. Other believe it includes writing which explores the experiences of gays and lesbians no matter what the preference of the writer. Whatever the opinions, this new category allows new voices into the literary world that were once muffled or restrained.

Travel Writing: This is about people and places. The writer must be able to give detailed information in a clear and concise manner.

Popular Writing: Generally, this category is defined as that fiction which acquires best seller status. According to Dean Koontz, the ingredients for popular fiction include plot, a hero/heroine, action, convincing characters and motivations, a setting and correct use of language.

Genre Writing: This is sometimes categorised under popular fiction. Genre writing usually refers to that realm of fiction concerned with romance, thriller, mystery, fantasy, science fiction. Each category has its own requirements. For example:

  • Science Fiction – some editors simply say that science fiction is set in the future. Other editors define science fiction as a futuristic setting but it can be set in the present, the past or in a time frame not connected to our world.
  • Crime Fiction – this involves mystery, police, justice, spy and thriller novels. The writer observes procedures to do with right and wrong doing, injustice, authority and fairness.
  • Romance Fiction – As always strong plots and characters and convincing settings are essential, however, romance is defined by the sensual and emotional interactions between the hero and heroine.
  • Horror and Fantasy Fiction – these were the fastest growing genres in the 1980s and 1990s. They provide an indictment of the modem age. These genres offer readers the chance of escape from reality, They have an emphasis on the mystical, supernatural and other-worldly. The two genres are closely linked yet are so different. Writers of horror and fantasy bring back timeless legends of werewolves, vampires, ghosts and demonic possession. They entwine our ordinary lives with beings of terror and lands or wonder. They also draw other genres into the equation for an exciting mix.


Writing for Children: Some believe writing for children must be easy, but in fact it is just as difficult as any other writing. Age groups must be considered and the reader’s level of understanding, development and experience. As a result, children’s publications are categorised into groups. These groups vary from publisher to publisher, but generally they are as follows:

First chapter books 6-8 year olds 4,000-6,000 words
Junior novels 8-10 year olds 8,000-15,000 words
Older children 10-13 year olds 20,000-40,000 words
Teenage 13-16 year olds 30,000-60,000 words
Young adult 17+ 40,000-70,000 words

Non-fiction for children is an expanding area. Books on topics such as school issues, home life, relationships (between family, friends and pets), transport, grief, science, countries, solar systems, culture, sport and much more can be explored. Often the most successful non-fiction include study kits.

A writer for children must:

  • have a deep understanding of children
  • appreciate a child’s development stages
  • understand children’s reactions in different stages of life
  • be able to write with sophisticated simplicity
  • appreciate the language of children
  • understand how writing can affect children morally and emotionally
  • feed the child’s imagination


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