Writing Texts

Audience

Audience

CaptureOne of the most important things to remember is the audience that you are writing for. Many students don’t realise how important this is and how many marks it carries. Examiners look closely to see that you have correctly identified and reached your target audience in your writing.

  • Is a formal style more suitable than an informal one?
  • Don’t forget to engage the reader’s attention and hold their interest – keep in mind that the examiner will have already read hundreds of other papers, aim for an interesting and captivating piece.

It’s more likely that your text will require a more formal style but, for example, magazines often adopt a more conversational tone.

PURPOSE

Keep in mind why you are writing the text, what is it’s purpose? Is it supposed to explain something, persuade someone or inform about something?

GENRE

Each genre has its own set of conventions that you need to adhere to in order to successfully write that particular genre. For example, a newspaper article in the Daily Mail might have a catchy headline with a pun or alliteraion, a by-line to tell the reader who the author is, sub-headings to structure the text as well as possible use of pictures, tables, bullet points, lists etc.

CONTEXT

You must consider the text’s context – where and how will it be read, what is the situation of the reader? Why are they reading the text? What language choices can you make in order to achieve this effect? And what tone must you use in order to fit in with both your audience and context?

Newspaper articles are often read on the daily commute, when people aren’t capable of using their full attention, so a lively and catchy style is the best way to engage them. A clear and logical structure will also help them to follow the text.

How to prepare

Before writing your non-fiction answer you will need to consider the following topics

  • Content: what do you want to say?
  • Organisation: how should you lay out and structure your writing?
  • Accuracy: how good is your spelling and punctuation?
  • Vocabulary: how many interesting words are you familiar with?

Each text will have different purposes.

  • The shorter text should give information or instructions, or describe a place or a person.
  • The longer text will involve persuading a person (or group of people) or argue a point of view.

Task one

Inform

Informing is very different from persuading even though yet much of what passes as information these days is, in truth, little more than ‘disguised’ persuasion. Some kinds of information we receive, we know to be biased or one-sided; but as

long as we know, want or expect this, this is fine. A letter from a friend, or autobiographical writing is of this kind.

Information that is biased can easily fail to do what information should do, which is to inform its readers and

allow them to ‘make up their own mind’. Information that is biased is sometimes a kind of propaganda.

? Where might you find information that is really ‘disguised persuasion’?

? Why does it matter that you can see it for what it is?

? In what typical situations is information given that could be called ‘propaganda’?

Task two

Persuading a person (or group of people) or arguing a point of view.

Before beginning to write your argument it is a good idea to plan by writing a list of for and against statements that you will include. For the highest marks, examiners will look for a balanced argument of both sides so aim for equal numbers of each although you can focus on one side during your conclusion.