Depending on what you choose to do during your writing career, you might or might not need to know how expository writing works.
This article will be your complete guide to expository writing so you can understand the basics and start writing your piece.
For the most part, if you do any nonfiction writing, you will need to know what expository writing is and will have to practice it every now and then. It is writing that is entirely based on outlining facts. There’s little creativity and persuasion.
You most likely did a lot of this type of writing throughout your school years, but you might end up doing it as a professional writer as well.
Let’s dive in.
What Is Expository Writing?
The point of expository writing is to be factual and educational. Expository writing is not meant to be persuasive writing or have any type of storytelling elements.
The goal is always to educate the reader and give them the facts so they can understand a topic.
It is the difference between reading an academic book and a novel. One is for entertainment and one is for education. Sure, some written pieces can have a cross between the two, but strictly expository writing is only focused on the facts.
Examples of expository writing include:
- News articles
- Academic textbooks
- Scientific reports
- Academic essays
- Magazine articles
- Encyclopedia articles
- Business writing
- Most kinds of assignments in school
When you are reading expository writing, you always know what the goal of the piece is and everything is presented in a way that makes sense.
Every expository writing piece has a goal in mind. While it never has the goal to be persuasive writing, it can have the goal of informing the reader, giving them a timeline of events, filling the reader in on an interesting story they should know, or something else.
Before you start writing, you will want to think about what you want the reader to walk away from your article now knowing about the subject you are writing about.
Expository writing is always objective and does not contain anyone’s opinion inside the piece.
What Is Not Expository Writing
There are some types of writing that might feel like expository writing but in fact are not.
Some might include advertisements, opinion pieces in a major magazine, blogs, social media posts, and more.
Expository writing is not under any of the other writing categories such as persuasive writing, narrative writing, or descriptive writing.
With every piece of writing, you need to figure out if it is trying to persuade you or not. If it is, it is not expository writing.
Expository writing should not be persuasive or trying to guide you toward a certain conclusions in any way. It simply lays out the facts as they are and then lets you draw your own conclusions along the way.
If you see the author include anything about themselves and their opinion, that is automatically a sign that it’s not expository writing.
Your Complete Guide to Expository Writing And Tips For Success
Let’s go over some ideas and tips for you to use to put our expository piece together.
#1 – Pull out your main points and facts
If you are creating an expository writing piece, you will want to gather your most important facts into one place.
From there, you need to put them in the logical order to work through for the reader to follow and understand.
The main goal for expository writing is to inform and educate the reader. With that in mind, you need to deeply think about how you can best do that and present the facts so they have all the information they need to create their own opinions.
#2 – Double check your facts
Just like with journalism, it is important to know that the fact you are using are accurate.
There is a lot of slanted news and “facts” out there that you can come across while doing research for your writing. The best thing you can do is to double-check every single fact and the source you are pulling it from to make sure it is accurate.
At the very least, deep dive into who did the research or compiled the facts that you are using in your piece. The last thing you want to do is to ruin your own reputation by citing facts that are not true.
If you creating a piece that has expository writing, you are going to spend more time on the research and the organizing stage than in the writing stage.
#3 – Decide how you are going to lay out your facts
Once you have everything together, it is time to start figuring out how you are going to present the facts.
While it is important that you outline your facts in a logical way, you can still present them in a variety of styles.
You will need to figure out what your goal is by writing your piece. That will help you find the style you want to present your facts in. You could compare and contrast various facts, show problems and solutions (like you would see in something such as a case study), provide a timeline of events, and so on.
Even if you are doing something technical like writing out business documentation, you should still have a goal in mind of why you are writing your piece in the first place.
Who are you writing to? What do you want them to know by the end of reading your piece?
#4 – Get feedback
While you might think all of your writing is clear cut and objective, there is still a high chance that you will still have a slight personal slant in your work.
Getting feedback from someone neutral on the topic can help a lot because they will help point out when you are being persuasive.
It can help to get the opinion of multiple people on your written piece, but at least one can help a ton. You want to make sure you keep your writing factual and on point.
#5 – Edit ruthlessly
One thing that makes expository writing interesting is that it often cuts out the fluff. It is only focused on the essential parts that matter and the rest gets cut off.
Before you turn in your final draft of your writing, you will want to make sure you go through it and cut out anything that can be cut.
With each sentence, you should be asking yourself, “Is this essential information? If this was not in the piece, would it change the overall information?”
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