The 4 main aspects of the writing process

Guest blog by Hugo Whitehead (GradeProof)

Everyone approaches the writing process in different ways. Some like to freestyle, others prefer to meticulously plan. Purpose, audience, style, tone, structure all shape your content and need to be considered before, during and even after you finish your writing.

These are small and specific aspects of writing that play a significant role in the validity and quality of your writing. Continue reading to find out more about how you can best approach these weighty details!

Introducing purpose, audience, style, and structure

The four main aspects of your writing (excluding the content itself) that need to be considered when writing anything are:

  1. Purpose
  2. Audience
  3. Style
  4. Structure

Each of them influence your content and will shape your writing. Carefully considering each of these aspects will help you to nail your writing every-time no matter what or who you’re writing for.

As with most things in the world, these aspects were not created equal. The image below should help demonstrate the weighting and impact of each of the aspects on your writing:

four-key-aspects-of-writing

1. Purpose

Everything has a purpose, including your writing. Typically, the purpose of literature falls into four different categories. They are:

  1. Persuasive writing: Whereby you are trying to convince the reader of your perspective in a debate.
  2. Expressive writing: Entails making others aware of your thoughts and/or feelings.
  3. Informative writing: Hopes to explain, educate and inform the reader.
  4. Narratives: A story in the form of reporting connected events:
    1. Fiction: Imaginary
    2. Non-fiction: Real

Think about the goal of your writing. What do you want to achieve? What do you want the reader to take away from your composition?

For example: In persuasive writing, the author might choose to use examples, statistics and information to reinforce their argument. Whereas someone writing a fictional story is more likely to focus on creating imagery for their readers through the use of adjectives, descriptions and metaphors.

 

2. Audience

Now that you have decided on the purpose of your writing, it’s time to consider your audience.

Before any writing takes place, it is important to gain an understanding of who you are writing for. It’s best to try and get your audience as specific as possible, so that you can carefully tailor your content and form for them.

This specificity is important as it will make the content much more relevant to the audience, increasing its value to them.

For example: If you want to write a book about how to become a better runner, you’ll need to consider whether the book is aimed at beginners or advanced runners. If your book is aimed at beginners, you’ll likely cover many basic techniques, drills and use terminology that they can understand. If your audience is advanced runners, you’ll likely delve into more complex techniques, drills and terminology that require a greater level of experience and understanding.

  • Jargon: Jargon can be defined as ‘special words or phrases used by a profession or group that can be difficult for others to understand’. If your audience is a part of a group or profession, it can be useful to use jargon to help convey your idea and communicate more effectively with them. Conversely, don’t use jargon if your audience is unlikely to understand it.
  • Appealing and addressing: It is important to consider what information you are presenting to your audience and whether they are likely to agree, disagree and what they will do with the content. Consider what the audience needs/wants/doesn’t want to know.

 

3. Style

Writing style is dictated by your choice of words, sentence structure, paragraph structure, mannerisms and how the writer uses these to convey ideas.

  • Tone: Tone is an aspect of style that encompasses how the writer uses certain words in a specific way to convey non-verbal observations about specific subjects.

EXAMPLES:

Corporate Joyful Serious
Sad Humorous Formal
Informal Optimistic Pessimistic
  • Voice: Voice is the most personal aspect of writing style. It reveals the writers perspectives and introduces aspects of their personality.

 

4. Structure

Writing structure can be defined as the order and progression of ideas. Ideas should be linked together and related to develop a cohesive and natural flow to the writing. Without good structure, the purpose may be distorted, deeming the writing inept.

There are six common types of writing structure and they include:

  • Categorical – Writing structured in a categorical way raises and discusses several equally important topics. Examples include: CV’s, Political speeches, etc
  • Evaluative – Writing structured in an evaluative way introduces and addresses an issue, by providing pros and cons to both sides of the issue.
  • Chronological – Writing structured in a chronological way works through a series of events in the order they occurred. Examples include: a story or an account of a historical event.
  • Comparative – Comparative writing structure is akin to the evaluative structure, however, it takes into account more complex and varied sides to the argument. Think of comparing and contrasting, what is similar and what is different? It may also heavily favor one side. Examples include: writing a speech for a debate, a letter to your boss why you need a new computer, etc
  • Sequential – Like the chronological structure, the sequential writing structure attempts to guide the reader as to how to do something. Examples include: construction manuals and ‘How-to’ articles.
  • Causal – Causal structure considers and discusses the cause and effect of a subject, idea or topic. Examples include: a diary entry of why you think something bad happened, a journal of the cause and effect of speeding
  • Unstructured – As the name suggests, unstructured writing has little to no structure and is typically a collection of random ideas. It does not follow any of the structures above.

Can there be variations to the writing process?

Of course there are variations on all the above structures. For example, a story might include a flashback or a flash forward that breaks the chronological structure to reveal certain events or things to the reader. This, however, is not considered unstructured as it is only diverging from its structure. Structure is still present.

Before delving too deep into the content of your writing try and consider each of these four aspects. They can have tremendous weighting on the quality of your writing and it’s end result.

Ensure to proofread, refine and edit your document upon completion as well as checking for plagiarism.

Hugo Whitehead is a writer from one of Write Time Marketing’s partners, GradeProof – artificially intelligent proofreading