Skip to Navigation

Inspiring Writing

Types of Writing

Narrative: A story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.

  • Personal Narrative - experiences that have been encountered, read, or heard about. Lots of description, action, and dialogue will help make the piece interesting and engage the reader to feel what the author felt.
  • Imaginative Narrative - a made up story. Instead of being about real things, this story is about things you imagine. Creativity is the most important thing in making an imaginative story. You don't need to be afraid to go above and beyond reality. For example, instead of including events that can happen to you everyday, create unusual events that could never happen in real life.

Expository: Writing that is used to describe, explain, or inform (conveys information from writer to reader.)

  • Steps:
    1. Select topic – be sure that it is not too broad.
    2. Choose a developmental pattern: Definition – thoroughly define the topic; Example – provide and describe an example of a subject; Cause and Effect – illustrate the relationship between two variables and describe the many ways in which this particular variable affects the other, and explain why it does so; Classification – used to categorize multiple subjects into separate or distinct groups by certain criteria; Compare and Contrast – examine both the similarities and the differences between two or more distinct subjects.
    3. Choose an organizational pattern. At minimum, there should be an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.
    4. Perform adequate research on the topic.
  • The thesis statement and topic sentences have subjects which are about the topic and clearly state a purpose.
  • Stay away from first and second person pronouns.
  • Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, which states the purpose, and two or three sentences that provide evidence.
  • Vary sentence structure, write in active voice, use action verbs.

Persuasive: Writing that attempts to convince the reader to accept a particular point of view or to take a specific action.

  • Use evidence to support your viewpoint, consider opposing views and present a strong conclusion:
    1. Identify the main idea or point of view and persuade the audience to accept this idea or point of view.
    2. Identify the audience and try to understand the audience.
    3. Considering the audience, identify the strongest supporting points for persuasion.
    4. Identify the most significant opposing view. Explaining and then refuting the opposing view strengthens the credibility and scope of the essay.
  • Think through an argument by stating an opinion.
  • Use qualifiers that change the opinion from an all or nothing claim (i.e., almost, often , usually, some, maybe, most, probably)
  • Add support through evidence of prediction, statistics, observation, expert testimony, and/or comparison
  • Make concessions by identifying other valid opinions about the subject. This makes the overall argument more convincing. Some expressions to use include: even though, I agree that, I cannot argue with, admittedly.


Writing Poetry

  • Poetry speaks to the senses, so create word pictures that build an image in your mind.
  • Poetry speaks to the heart, so make sure it asks you to feel something.
  • Poetry looks different from prose and poems are written in lines and stanzas (groups of lines).
  • Poetry sounds different, so pay special attention to the sound of your work. Some techniques include:
    • Rhyme and meter: following exact patterns of rhyme and/or rhythm
    • Alliteration: repeating of beginning consonant sounds
    • Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds
    • Consonance: repetition of consonant sounds anywhere within words, not just at the beginning
    • End Rhyme: the rhyming of words at the ends of lines of poetry
    • Internal Rhyme: the rhyming of words within one line of poetry
    • Onomatopoeia: the use of a word whose sound makes you think of its meaning
    • Quatrain: a four-line stanza
    • Repetition: the repeating of a word or phrase to add rhythm or to focus on an idea

Types of Poetry

Ballad Tells a story. Usually written in quatrains. Often, the first and third lines have four accented syllables, the second and fourth have three.
Blank Verse Unrhymed poetry with meter. The lines are 10 syllables in length. Every other syllable, beginning with the second, is accented.
Cinquain Five lines in length. There are syllable and word cinquains.
Couplet Two lines of verse that usually rhyme and state one complete idea.
Free Verse Does not require meter or rhyme scheme.
Limerick Humorous verse of five lines. Lines one, two, and five rhyme, as do lines three and four. Lines one, two, and five have three stressed syllables; lines three and four have two.
Lyric Short poem that expresses personal feeling.
Ode Long lyric that is deep in feeling and rich in poetic imagery.
Sonnet Fourteen-line poem that states a poet’s personal feelings. Each line is 10 syllables in length, and every other syllable is stressed, beginning with the second syllable.
Alphabet Uses part or all of the letters of the alphabet to start each line.
Concrete The shape or design helps express the meaning or feeling of the poem.
Contrast Couplet The first line includes two words that are opposites. The second line makes a comment about the first.
Definition Defines a word or an idea creatively.
List List words or phrases.
Name The letters of a name are used to begin each line in the poem.
Phrase States an idea with a list of phrases.
Title-Down The letters that spell the subject of the poem are used to begin each line.

Ideas in Selecting a Writing Subject

  • Remember an important time or event in your life
  • Look at the world around you
  • Describe something you like or dislike
  • Think of a favorite person
  • Begin a cluster with the center word as your general idea that is related to your subject.  Then cluster related words around that center word.
  • Freely list ideas as they come to mind.
  • Complete an open ended sentence in as many ways as you can.
  • Freewrite for 5-10 minutes.  Then stop and underline ideas that could serve as specific subjects for your writing.