Writing Course: Forms of Writing

There are many different types of writing in existence. The writing industry demands they are categorised. This can cause a rigidness but is also handy for organisation and assists in identifying publications.

Writing is generally categorised into two main areas – fiction and non-fiction.


Fiction is created from the author’s imagination. Forms of writing in this area are novels, short stories and poetry.

Novels: A novel contains all or some of the following:

  • concept or issue, usually referred to as the theme around which the story is told. The theme often involves social, political or moral issues
  • plots and sub-plots, which layout the design of the novel
  • characters, developed by the author
  • passage of time, to suit the story
  • a setting, which may include a world developed by the author


Novelists draw on experience, history, imagination, social issues and research to write their stories. These things are combined with suspense, drama, intrigue and tension to keep the reader interested and guessing.

Another form is the novella, a short novel. However, these are more difficult to market.

Short Story: A short story is a work of fiction that concentrates on a particular event or character. Unlike a novel, which has multiple characters and plots, the short story homes in on only one character and event and confines its scope. It will usually have a brief time frame. Short stories are generally 1,000 to 10,000 words in length. Many short stories have been turned into a novel, a play, a film and even non-fiction over the years.

Poetry: Poetry defies definition. It is an imaginative use of language which may or may not take the form of a sentence. Poetry attempts to create atmosphere, perceptions and emotions. It uses words to stimulate the imagination. A poem can contain symbolism, metaphor or simile. It can be written for self truth, for publication, for expression and for performance.


Non-fiction is the construction of true stories. It documents actual events and facts. It can take the form of instructional manuals, recipes, history, facts on animals, the environment, politics, nature, outer space, science and much more.

Faction: A recently introduced term which refers to a combination of fiction and non-fiction. This style is used to bring immediacy to the writing and/or to protect the people referred to in the writing by using pseudonyms.

News Reporting: The factual account of events, usually found in newspapers, radio and television, and also in some magazines. Good news reporting involves good and accurate observation, verification of facts, economy of words and the ability to write and edit quickly and to a deadline.

Features: A feature is the major article found in a publication. They can be a detailed profile of a person, an investigation of an issue, an exploration of a place or a bit of all these things. Most feature articles rarely go over 2,000 words. A good feature writer draws on many sources and is able to write using different techniques and styles but always remains true to the facts.

Reviews: Reviews are found in newspapers, magazines and on many websites. They give a critique, description and opinion on books, movies, events or locations. A good review will inform and educate the reader.

History: Writing about history involves much more than excellent research skills. The writer must interpret findings in such a way as to produce a reliable and authentic account of the past.

Biography: This is when you write about the life of someone else. It involves a profound insight into this other person and an understanding of their life. It’s important to report the information with utmost accuracy.

Autobiography: This is when you write about yourself. The writer must be objective, accurate, truthful, ethical and have the ability to understand and make fair judgements when relating information about themselves and others.

Screen Writing: This is very much visual story telling. This is different to a story being read, it is all about image, being seen and heard. A screen writer must understand the significance of combining music, action and light to create atmosphere.

Stage Writing: Theatre is an ancient craft. Before stories were written, they were performed so a stage writer must understand the dynamics of the theatre, for stage is the be seen and heard.

Corporate Writing: This is primarily writing for business. It is often seen as dry and uncreative. A corporate writer must understand business dynamics, have the ability to understand and work to a brief, be able to work quickly and to a deadline and appreciate relationships within and outside the business.

Technical Writing: This is writing which usually is published in specialist publications. For such writing the writer needs to be well informed, accurate, concise and up-to-date. This type of writing is mostly formal and authoritative.

Education Writing: This involves writing instructions and must be clear and concise. This type of writing requires logical expression in giving step-by-step instructions, a knowledge of the readers and their expectations and an understanding of how people learn.

Text Books: These can cover all sorts of topics and vary in complexity depending on the target audience. The writers of these books are usually specialists in their topic. Thorough research in required and they must always be clear and concise.

Essay Writing: Essays set forth an idea then proceeds to explore it through analysis and argument supported by evidence. Logic, clarity and organisation are important aspects for an essay writer.

Write Nonfiction With Passion: Four Steps To Emotionally Charge Your Article

by Catherine Franz

You have completed the draft of an article, but it seems flat and lifeless, even to you. It needs to have the spark that ignites that all important emotional connection to your readers but you are at a loss as to how to spruce it up.

Breathing life into a nonfiction article is tough, especially if it doesn’t include a character or an emotional storyline.

If you have written an article from your own personal experience, perhaps you have already included emotionally charged language. Then all you need to do is ask, “Does the article have enough emotionally charged language to touch my readers, to pull them in, to keep them reading, to move them to action or possibly a conclusion?”

Why would you even want to add emotion to a nonfiction article? Adding emotion to your writing, any type of writing, fuels the reader’s attention, helps them connect with the action. It gives the reader an experience. Experience is why people go to the movies or watch TV. More importantly, it keeps them reading.

What does emotionally charged mean exactly? Emotionally charged means using language that stirs the reader in some form. When and how frequently emotions need to occur depends on your article’s subject, tone, and angle. Yes, even tone matters in a nonfiction article. Is it to be terse, confident, or are you talking as an expert? Maybe it’s a learning tone? From a previous student-now-teacher. An informing tone, usually overused in nonfiction, turns off readers if used consistently, like in a column, or multiple articles, on your web site, or in a newsletter.

Step 1: Find the Emotion

Begin by defining what main emotion you want the reader to feel or to understand. Were you peeved about something and it set off the writing of an article? Maybe you saw a wrong and want to set the record straight, or to convey a different truth, one from your perspective. Is it compassion-oriented or spiritually based? Maybe you want to convey an inspirational or motivating tone. Is it love that you want to convey? Love for a topic. Love for a hobby or something you’re passionate about. Your love, someone else’s, the world’s, how much love do you want to send out?

You can limit the number of emotions according to the word count. Here’s a common calculation: under 600, one emotion. Under 1200, two. Over 1800, three or four.

You can choose the emotion you want before the first draft. Yet, many writers, including this writer, prefer to add emotion during the second draft or first edit.

Close your eyes and feel your own inner self on your topic. Find the emotion, the tone, give it one or two words, and then write it in the article’s margin for easy access. If it’s a personal experience, think back to that time, reconnect with that emotion. Did you feel numb, affection, anguish, excitement, shame, guilt, remorse, violent? How about confused?

One of the many reasons I love writing marketing articles is because I see so much misinformation on the topic and it riles my feathers. When this occurs, I write from this emotion and that language naturally flows into the article. Since this isn’t the emotion I want to convey to my readers, I rewrite a second draft in the emotion that I truly want to convey. Usually, from a more loving and patient perspective.

What did you hear, smell, touch, see or even taste during the experience? If you personally didn’t experience what you are writing about, do you know someone who did? Ask them to share their emotions with you. Put words to those feelings. The taste language doesn’t necessarily have to be food related either. Your lips could be dry. You’re tongue can taste like you just liked a stamp. Relate the taste to something that the readers can understand because they have experienced it as well. We’ve all licked a stamp sometime in our life and remember the icky dull bad breath feeling it leaves on our tongue. My face is curling up just thinking about that taste.

Another way to find the emotion is to relate the article, topic, to music. Does it remind you of a fox trot, waltz, rock and roll, jazz, R&B, what? It could even remind you of a particular song. Can you access the song, or remember the lyrics? Musically, lyrics are great places to find emotional words and language.

Step 2: Connecting

Close your eyes, sit quietly with the article. Sense yourself reading the article in your mind. No, not the identical words but the idea, the vision, the thoughts. If that’s a challenge, read the article out loud, very softly, as if reading it to an angel. Even notice where you take breaths. These are places where new paragraphs begin, commas or periods needs to occur. If you run out of breath, maybe the sentence needs dividing, eliminating, or even combining.

You can even tape record your reading. Listen with your eyes closed. This is also a great way to hear the flat places in the article. Identify the emotion from what you hear. Record all the emotional words you hear or feel in the margins. Every word is right, so don’t miss any. Place all judgment in a shoe box for now.

Step 3: Adding In The Emotion

Review your words. Brainstorm with a thesaurus, synonym finder, or dictionary. Online resources you can use: http://thesaurus.reference.com, or
http://www.acronymfinder.com, http://m-w.com/netdict.htm.

Continue your list in the margins. Now its time, before the editing process to add in the emotion. If the first draft is very dry, this is a good time to realize that it’s not uncommon for writers to rewrite the article completely because the emotion conveyed was too far off at the beginning. If this is the case, consider the first draft a brain dump, a warm up session. And now you’re ready to roll. Your hot, the feelings are sizzling.

Step 4: Editing

Usually, editing is to help clarity and tighten. Caution though, it is easy to remove the emotionally charged elements that you painstakingly added. Sometimes, when using an outside editor, someone who doesn’t hold the same emotions as you, they remove the emotions. And sometimes too, there are too many emotions. There is a delicate balance. However, many editors walk this tightrope carefully and with honor.

Most writing needs energy and emotion that conveys the story, the information, so as not to put the reader to sleep. Or even worse, stop them from reading. And your passion is what needs to be conveyed from you to them. Watch the magic when you read someone else’s material that conveys emotions. See how they use the words.

When I’m in the flow, I feel the emotion pushing the pen as fast it can across the paper. I know, through experience, when this is occurring and I’m writing so fast, I have a tendency to leave words out. I used to stop at the end of every paragraph and reread and add them. Don’t, let the flow occur. Trust that whatever is needed will again be there for you to fill-in any missing blanks. Let the magic come through. Your readers desire it.

Special Note: An accompanying list of emotionally-charged words is available in the Abundance Center’s Forms Section.

About the Author:
Catherine Franz is a syndicated columnist, author, radio talk show host on marketing, International speaker, and master business coach. Visit her websites at http://www.abundancecenter.com and http://www.LetsTalkMarketingShow.com

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