Producing Non-Fiction

Introduction

Introduction

The Four Key Areas (GAPS)

Genre

In GCSE English Language the exam question will generally determine your text’s genre. For example, having commented on an article about healthy eating in the Reading section, you may be asked to write your own article giving details about a healthy eating campaign or to write a letter to a fast food company asking them to make their products healthier.

Identify the genre you are meant to be writing in then think about the key features of this genre. Attention to detail is important. For example, if you are writing a letter, set your page out like a letter with addresses, a date and an addressee (person or company you are writing the letter to). Detailed advice on writing in genres can be found in the Genre Writing section.

N.B. DO NOT use your home address. You can make up addresses for yourself and the addressee.

Audience

CaptureThe audience, the person or people to whom you are addressing your text must be considered at all times. They will influence the genre of the piece, the purpose, the style, persuasion techniques and writing techniques you use. They are at the centre of EVERYTHING. Remember in an exam that you may not be writing a text for your friends and you will have to change your language and presentation to suit the target audience. Examiners will be looking at the skills you use to appeal to them.

What separates your audience from everyone else?

Who is your audience? Once you have answered this question, consider what makes them different from the people who you would not expect to read your text. For example, an article about a ski resort written for a travel magazine will evidently be directed at people who are interested in travelling. Therefore, you do not need to convince them that travelling is enjoyable. You need to appeal to their senses and explain why your resort is the best place to go or, if you are writing a negative review, why they should avoid it.

Another example is if you were to write an article persuading other students to try a hobby which interests you. You need to describe all the reasons why this hobby would be good for the students. What differentiates your audience from other people is their age and that is what you should appeal to. These students are not young children, nor are they adults.

Purposes

The many different purposes of non-fiction are described in detail on the page headed ‘Purposes’. However, they can be summed up by the following: to Explain, to Inform, to Teach, to Persuade, to Express an Opinion, to Entertain, to Describe, to Provoke a Response.

Style

The author can pinpoint their text’s style by examining how its presentation relates to and influences its target audience, as well as the kind of language used. Remember that style is the relationship between the form and content of a text. Style does not focus on the actual information given itself but how it is given.

It is important to have a consistent style. For example, if you are writing formally for a serious magazine, your language should use formal markers, such as furthermore. If you are creating an advertisement, it should not contain any large paragraphs of writing.