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5 Types of Non-Fiction Writing

types of nonfiction

When you’re writing a non-fiction manuscript, how you structure your information is important to the reader. There are a number of different writing types from which to choose so you can get your point across in the most effective way. Although there are a number of specific types of non-fiction writing, including journalistic, biographical, or critical, this piece will cover the major types of non-fiction writing and the benefits of each specific style.

Which type of writing could be right for you? Let’s take a look.

#1. Expository Writing

This is the type of writing which is used when the purpose of the text is to inform, explain, or describe information. It is used to help explain to the reader why the information they are consuming is important and then helps them to analyze that information by presenting ideas, using evidence as corroboration, and encouraging discussions. The goal is often to provide background information but can be used to convey specific key points in scientific or technical writing.

You’ll often find this type of writing used to present background facts to present a specific conclusion. Expository writing about the Big Bang might be used to convey why certain new discoveries about the universe support a specific theory of existence.

#2. Argumentative Writing

Sometimes this type of non-fiction writing is called “persuasive writing” instead. The goal is to prove the validity of an idea, a fact, or a specific point of view by using a series of logical conclusions. By arguing the key points, the goal is to persuade the reader that the opinion of the writer is the correct one. A good example of this type of writing is in the creation of a resume. You’re attempting to convince a hiring manager through the use of a resume and perhaps a cover letter that you’re the best person for the job that you want.

It’s that concept which can be used for any non-fiction text. Darwin used argumentative writing when offering his theories of evolution. Religious denominations use this type of writing when discussing why they believe that their beliefs are the “one true way” to whatever end-goal is being considered.

#3. Opinion Writing

This is the most common form of non-fiction that you’ll find is available right now. Every blog you’ve ever read is a form of this non-fiction writing style. Although opinions aren’t necessarily universal facts, they are personal facts that are specific to the person who is creating the manuscript. That is why it is classified as a non-fiction type of writing.

Opinions can exist about anything, but for them to be valid, there must be some form of fact-based supporting evidence presented within the context of the content. Without any evidence, it is difficult to present the possibility that the opinion could be factual, which means it becomes more of an observation to the reader than a logical conclusion from available facts.

Although opinion writing is similar to the other styles, it is different because of the fact that you’re discussing the conclusions you’ve already formed and why you’ve formed them.

#4. Essay Writing

This is the type of non-fiction writing that almost all of us had to do at some point during our school years. It is writing that is based on the writings of others. You take their research, their manuscripts, and their observations and then use them as evidence to support your own conclusions on a specific subject matter.

What makes essays unique in the world of non-fiction writing is that the structure of this writing requires you to source all of your materials. You must give credit to the researchers and writers you are using within your writing to bring the reader to a specific conclusion. In many ways, this form of writing is more like creating a summary of existing works to create learning opportunities instead of taking the reader through a specific story or experience.

#5. Literary Writing

This type of non-fiction writing is used to describe a manuscript that is intended for more of an intellectual audience instead of a general audience. If you were to write a scientific paper about how particles interact with the universe and your target audience for the piece were readers that are doing the same research, then it could fit into this category. This style is always used when the purpose isn’t to engage a greater audience.

The types of non-fiction writing are many. If you can figure out what your major style of writing happens to be, then you’re ready to begin crafting an engaging manuscript that will help your readers learn something new.



Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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