Transgressive Fiction Style (Part 1)


Elements of Writing Style

How to Develop Writing Style

Tips Part 1

John Waters, Divine in Ecstasy, 1992. Chromogenic print. Collection of Amy and Zachary Lehman. Image courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery(source)


According to M.H. Abrams, style is traditionally defined as “the manner of linguistic expression in prose or verse—it is how speakers or writers say whatever it is that they say.”(source)

Before I get into the specific style for writing Transgressive fiction, let me tell you about style, in general, for writing. There are four main types of writing: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative. Each of these writing styles is used for a specific purpose. Remember that a single text may include more than one writing style.


This is one of the most common types of writing. The goal of writers using this style is to explain a concept, convey information from themselves to the readers. Expository writing does not include the author’s opinions but focuses on accepted facts about a topic, including statistics or other evidence. Examples can be textbooks, How-to articles, recipes, news stories, business, technical, or scientific writing.


This is often found in fiction, though it can make an appearance in nonfiction as well, such as memoirs. The goal here is to paint a picture in words of a person, place, or thing for the readers. In this case, the writer may use metaphor or other literary devices in order to describe one's impressions through their five senses. But there is no need in this method to convince the readers of anything. The examples can be poetry, fictional stories/novels, or plays, description of the scenery, diary writing, etc.


This is the main style for academic papers mostly. The goal is to convince the readers of a position or idea. Persuasive writing includes the writer's ideas and biases, as well as reasonings and justifications. Examples can be reviews, advertisements, academic papers, essays, cover letters, etc.


This is used in almost every longer piece of writing, whether fiction or nonfiction. The goal is to impart information as well as to construct and communicate a story, complete with characters, conflict, and settings. Examples can be oral lore, poetry, short stories, Novels/Novellas, anecdotes.

Oral histories

Elements of Writing Style

According to Dr. Stephen Wilbers, there are 5 elements for effective writing that if I put them into the frame of creative writing can be: Purpose (What's your central argument?), Organization (how you link concepts and ideas together?), Support (what backs up your idea and purpose?), Expression (what is your word choice and point of view?), and Correctness (editing and rewriting).

Features of the style include the following:

  • diction (word choice): Are the words simple or fancy? Are they technical, flowery, colloquial, cerebral, punning, obscure (and so on...)?

  • sentence structure and syntax: Are the sentences long or short? Why do they change? Do they contain many subordinate clauses, or are they often fragments? Are there any digressions or interruptions? Is the word-order straightforward or unconventionally crafted? Is the writing tight and efficient, or elaborate and long-winded? When does the author use one or the other mode, and why?