Producing Non-Fiction

Genre Writing

Genre Writing

As a non-fiction writer, it is important to understand the genre of your text. The genre links with purpose, audience and style, as well as deciding the rules and conventions which must be followed. How thoroughly you know your genre’s rules and how accurately you can apply them to your writing will influence how effective your text is. For example, the task could be to write a survival article, not leaflet, for a newspaper about living in cities. Writing an article requires a catchy headline, subheadings and paragraphs whereas leaflets usually use bullet points rather than continuous prose.

Writing a Newspaper Article

Rule and Conventions include:

Introduction

CaptureThe first paragraph of an article, unless there is a small, two-line teaser paragraph, gives the reader key pieces of information about its topic. In general, the 5Ws and 1H are answered in this paragraph: Who, what, where, when, why and how.

Headlines

In the fast-paced world, headlines need to catch a reader’s interest quickly so they are tempted to read the rest of the article. They should be short, punchy, and attention grabbing. As well as this, they should be written in a large font, or underlined if you have a ruler, and are often in bold. Headlines can often contain humorous plays on words, alliteration, dramatic punctuation and other devices.

Sub-headings

These are designed to inform, giving clear information about what is in the paragraphs in their section. Generally, they are written in bold.

Generally, the writer’s name will go underneath the headline, as well as the date. At the end of the article, there could be a website to go to for the reader to find advice or to make a comment. Newspapers may also use photos and diagrams.

Writing for a Magazine

Magazines have a number of presentational devices which they can use, including graphics (cartoons/illustrations), boxed text, questionnaires. It depends more on the audience as to what is appropriate. They also use headlines and sub-headlines like newspapers.

Magazines tend to be aimed at specific audiences. For example, some are aimed at women, some at men, others at technical people and some target age groups such as young adults. Remember to use the correct language – formal or informal, technical or non-technical – to influence the audience.

Writing a Letter

When writing a letter, it is important to use the correct convention. You can immediately identify a letter from its layout and that is what you want the examiner to be able to do with your task response.

Generally, you will be writing in formal English and will be given an addressee. Conventions to follow include: Address at the top, date, addressee, (Subject line), closing phrase and sign-off.