Writing non fiction

In directed writing task ( 125-150 words) you should bear in mind the following:

  1. the writer/role
  2. the purpose and type of the text
  3. The style
  4. The content/context
  5. Writing for a specified audience

Specified audience can be defined quite broadly by age, gender, shared interests, family/ social roles, hobbies or other aspects of life style.

example question: page no. 69. In response to this task you will need to:

  • draw on what you know about the conventions of a magazine or newspaper article. this might be related to form/lay out/ structure, typical modes of address to readers, likely vocabulary, turns of phrase, and so on.
  • Imagine yourself in the shoes of the writer: what kind of things might he/she choose to write about? What voice will he/she have/ Level of formality and informality?
  • Draw on what you know about how to create a ‘sense’/ mood/ tone. for example, particular vocabulary,, figures of speech, types of sentences etc.
  • think about the purpose of the text
  • Plan the content/structure

key points:

  • Read the task carefully, identifying the key words of phrases
  • Use the clues in the task to help you gauge what is needed in your response.
  • make sure you are able to identify as much as you can about the type of text; the writer/role( if there is one) the form; the audience and purpose, the content and the tone.



SPEND TWO or three minutes quickly listing key words or phrases form the wording of the task will be useful.


criteria for planning

  • begin by identifying the key words or phrases.
  • generate key ideas, features events by using spider diagrams or the ‘idea shower’ (ex. page no.730
  • organize your ideas or points into a set of eight to ten paragraphs.

Paragraphing ( ex. page 74)

tip: you must create your plans and ideas quickly, taking no more than five to ten minutes.

discursive: a text that explores a subject and reflects thoughtfully on it.

tip: there are lots of ways to organize and structure articles and reports- think about how the order can help you achieve your purpose.

text types and purposes


  1. descriptive writing: ( travel articles and accounts)

2.personal writing: ( autobiographies, diaries and letters)

3.writing about others:( biography and memoirs)

4.persuasive, discursive and argumentative writing ( news, magazine features, speeches.

The purpose: it might be to inform, explain, describe, reflect, discuss or explore, comment, review, persuade, argue a case, or promote an idea.


either a section of a letter for a shorted directed writing task based on a passage you have read ( 120-150 words)

or two contrasting letters ( 300-450 words) when asked to write for a specified audience.


diaries are written in a time of crisis or as a way of recording personal, often reflective thoughts.

they are written in a confidential tone and written using a mix of present, future and past tense to express his thoughts and feeling of the past, present and future.

Tip: Take care over using Abbreviated forms in this kind of writing. diary writers do not always use full sentences all the time and may miss out words or employ phrases as a form of diary shorthand. However, it must be clear to your reader what the intended meaning of the diary entry is.

Autobiography and memoirs.

in an examination you may be asked to write either

a section (120-150 words) of an autobiography or a memoir

or an extended piece (600-900 words)

Generally speaking you will need to

  • write in the first person
  • convey the sense of an intense experience or event, rather than a simple narrative or recording of routine everyday occurrences.

Biography and character portraits

in the exam you may be asked to write

either of a biography or of a character portrait


an extended piece (600-900 words)

in it you will

  • write mainly in the third person unless the text is much about revealing your own character and relationships.
  • describe an event, conversation or experience which reveals something significant about the person you are writing about.
  • adopt a clear position and a sense of voice about the person, perhaps conveying approval or disapproval in the way material or expression are selected.

Tip: When asked to write about an interesting character, you are really being asked to make someone you know, or have heard of, sound interesting. They do not have to be a celebrity or have won Olympic medals!

Articles and features

in the exam, you may be asked to write:

either a section (120-150 words) of an article

or a full feature or article ( 600-900 words)

  • Place the most important information (who? what? why? when? where?) at the opening of the article in one or two initial paragraphs.
  • Develop with ‘body’ paragraphs that often record an expert from a witness account, or the words of an official figure. ( eg. spokesperson for the police)
  • End with a paragraph about the near future- what is about to happen.
  • use a mixture of direct speech and indirect speech
  • divide the material into clearly defined sections
  • give reasons why you are offering advice about a particular section
  • use repeated structures.
  • use imperatives and if clauses
  • at a certain point adopt informal language to make connection with your readers
  • vary sentence length and structures for effect
  • insert occasional direct personal opinion
  • Tips: focus on the text, not on the layout or design. For example you should not spend time formatting your material into columns or drawing illustrations to accompany the articles.

Reviews and writing to comment

You may be asked to write

either a section (120-150 words)

or a full review ( 600-900 words)

Reviews both comment on or describe an event or experience. they are a form of persuasive writing.

  • knowing the kind of publication you are writing for and the intended readership.
  • Understanding what the reader wants to know
  • knowledge and authority about the subject
  • forming an overall opinion which will give the review a framework.
  • relating any examples to that overall opinion and framework.

Speeches, voice over scripts and debates

you may be asked to write:

either a section (120-150 words) of a speech or two contrasting speeches which make up a debate of 600-900 words)

either a section (120-150 words) of a script or more developed voice over script of 600-900 words)

voice over: the voice of an unseen narrator. spoken material.

The conventions for speeches, scripts and debates will largely depend on the purpose. so for persuasive speeches you would be expected to include rhetorical devices.

You will need to

  • try to give a good sense of the ‘voice of the speaker/s
  • remember to write in the first person
  • consider how tenses might play a part.
  • Remember that you should focus on your writing. you don’t need to include instructions for sound effects or other technical issues but you may wish to use a few stage directions here and there.

Promotional texts

promotional texts include advertisements, materials from brochures, leaflets and so on.

Soft sell approach: is where more persuasive, gentle methods are used to promote products or ideas and there are appeals to lifestyle, through images or ideas conveyed to the reader…

Hard Sell approach: tends to stress essential matters of value and practically.

it gives direct appeal to reader’s idea of value.

fairly blunt short sentence.

a minor sentence( no verb) which bluntly states the cost.

Campaign Literature: Campaign literature on a range of issues ( eg. the protection of the environment and wild life) shares similarities with other forms of persuasive texts;, such as political speeches.

Tips: some writers try to persuade their readers about issues by adopting a persona- a role or character adopted by a narrator or writer.

Discursive writing and writing to argue

Discursive writing is when you consider a particular issue, problem, or situation and outline the arguments on both the sides before coming to a reasoned conclusion.The keys to effective discursive writing are:

  • to present both or multiple, points of view.
  • to write in a detached, objective manner. (evoke first person statements.)
  • to move towards a more personal response at the end of the piece, at which point you give your ‘verdict’ on the issue.
  • Argumentative writing: is very close to discursive writing. however, you are trying to persuade or convince the reader of your point of view from the outset rather than offering a more restrained and briefer judgement at the end. Thus argumentative writing tends to have more personal and direct style.



make a list of key terms and requirements in the task question.

have points for and against. two or three points for each side of the case

each of these points will form a paragraph of your answer in between your introduction and conclusion.

you should decide on the order of your paragraphs. In order to keep reader’s interest and an increasing sense of authority, it is best to begin with minor points before moving on the stronger ones.

If you are for the topic, your plan could be like this: introduction, points against, points for, a conclusion.

If you are against the topic, your plan could be like this: an introduction, points for, points against, a conclusion.

Another approach would be to begin each paragrah with an argument followed by its counter argument.

A paragraph should contain:

  • a topic sentence
  • a consideration of arguments about that point in the paragraph
  • exemplification- examples to illustrate each arguments( you might refer to surveys, statistics, real or feasible ones.
  • evidence of connectives linking sentences. (refer to the worksheet on linking devices)


Keep in mind, “First impression is the best impression and last impression is the most lasting impression.”









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