10 Writing Structures You Need to Know

Posted on Apr 13, 2023

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Welcome to the fascinating world of writing structures! Whether you are an aspiring writer or a seasoned wordsmith, understanding the different structures that underpin successful writing can elevate your work to new heights.

From the classic narrative arc to the more complex braided essay, writing structures offer a framework for your ideas to take shape, providing a clear path for your reader to follow. In this article, we will explore ten different writing structures, each with their unique strengths and benefits. So, whether you are looking to craft a gripping story or persuade your audience, let us dive into the wonderful world of writing structures!

This guide to writing structures covers:

  1. Braided essay
  2. Narrative arc
  3. Inverted pyramid
  4. Compare and contrast
  5. Problem – solution
  6. Chronological order
  7. Cause and effect
  8. Listicle
  9. Circular narrative
  10. Epistolary

Braided Essay

A braided essay is a unique and compelling writing structure that interweaves multiple narrative threads into a single cohesive piece. Rather than a linear progression, a braided essay can move between personal anecdotes, historical events, and philosophical musings, often with an overarching theme or question tying everything together. Think of it as a literary braid, with each strand distinct yet interwoven to create a complex and nuanced tapestry. This structure allows writers to explore complex ideas and themes in a way that is both captivating and intellectually stimulating, making it a popular choice among creative nonfiction writers.

Narrative Arc

A narrative arc is a classic and powerful writing structure that has been used for centuries to create compelling stories. It is the journey that the protagonist takes, from the beginning of the story through to the end, encountering conflicts and obstacles along the way. The arc typically begins with an exposition, where the characters and setting are introduced, followed by a rising action where the story builds to a climax, and then a falling action where the story resolves itself. Finally, the arc ends with a denouement, which ties up any loose ends and leaves the reader with a sense of closure. This structure provides writers with a clear framework for their stories, making it easier to create engaging characters, build tension, and ultimately deliver a satisfying conclusion.

Inverted Pyramid

The inverted pyramid is a writing structure that is commonly used in journalism and news writing. It involves placing the most important information at the beginning of the article, followed by details that become less and less important as the article goes on. This structure is effective because it immediately captures the reader’s attention and delivers the most important news quickly, before potentially losing the reader’s interest. By front-loading the most important details, the inverted pyramid structure provides readers with the necessary information they need to understand the story, even if they don’t read the entire article. This structure is a staple of news writing, but can also be effective in other types of writing where brevity and clarity are essential.

Compare and Contrast

The compare and contrast writing structure involves analyzing and contrasting two or more subjects or ideas to draw conclusions or make a point. This structure is popular in academic writing, where it can be used to analyze literature, historical events, or scientific concepts. By comparing and contrasting different elements, writers can identify similarities and differences, highlight strengths and weaknesses, and provide a deeper understanding of the subject matter. The compare and contrast structure can also be used in persuasive writing to argue for or against a particular point of view, by presenting evidence that supports one side over the other. This structure is a versatile and effective tool for writers looking to explore complex ideas and draw meaningful conclusions.

Problem – Solution

The problem-solution writing structure is a framework used to present a problem or challenge, followed by a proposed solution or solutions. This structure is effective in persuasive writing, where the writer seeks to convince the reader to take a particular course of action. By identifying a problem and offering a solution, the writer can demonstrate their understanding of the issue and position themselves as an authority on the subject. This structure can be used in a variety of writing genres, from academic papers to marketing copy, and is a powerful way to communicate ideas and persuade others to take action. It is an engaging and impactful way to present ideas and offer solutions to real-world problems.

Chronological Order

Chronological order is a writing structure that arranges events in order of time, from earliest to latest. This structure is useful for telling stories and recounting historical events, as it allows the writer to convey a sense of progression and sequence. By following a chronological order, readers can better understand the context and significance of each event as it unfolds. This structure is also useful in academic writing, where it can be used to explain the development of ideas or theories over time. While it may not be suitable for every type of writing, chronological order is an effective way to convey a sense of history and progress, and is a valuable tool for writers of all genres.

Cause and Effect

The cause and effect writing structure is a powerful tool for writers to explain how one event or decision led to another. This structure identifies a cause and then explores the resulting effects or consequences. It can be used to explain historical events, scientific phenomena, or even personal experiences. By identifying the root causes of a problem, writers can better understand the factors at play and offer potential solutions or interventions. This structure is effective in persuasive writing, as it can help the writer to argue for or against a particular course of action by demonstrating the impact it would have. Cause and effect is a valuable writing structure that can help writers to better understand complex systems and phenomena, and to communicate their ideas effectively to readers.


The listicle writing structure is a popular format that presents information in a list format, often accompanied by brief explanations or descriptions. Listicles are popular in digital media and can cover a wide range of topics, from entertainment to education. This structure is effective because it breaks down complex information into easily digestible chunks, making it easier for readers to engage with the content. The use of catchy titles and engaging visuals can also make listicles more appealing and shareable on social media. While some criticize listicles for being superficial, they can be an effective way to present information in a concise and engaging manner, making them a valuable tool for writers and publishers alike.

Circular Narrative 

The circular narrative is a unique writing structure that involves telling a story that ends where it began, creating a circular or cyclical structure. This technique can be used to explore the themes of repetition and closure, and can create a sense of timelessness or inevitability in the story. By returning to the beginning of the story, writers can create a sense of resolution or closure, and give the reader a sense that the story has come full circle. Circular narratives are often used in literary fiction, but can also be effective in other genres, such as memoir or creative nonfiction. This structure is a powerful way to engage readers and create a sense of emotional resonance with the story.


The epistolary writing structure involves telling a story or conveying information through a series of letters or written correspondence between characters. This structure can create a sense of intimacy and immediacy in the writing, as the reader feels as if they are reading private correspondence between characters. The use of letters can also reveal character traits and motivations in a more subtle way than other writing structures, as the character’s voice and personality can come through in their writing style. The epistolary structure is often used in novels, but can also be effective in other forms of writing, such as memoir or personal essays. This structure is a charming and unique way to convey information and tell a story, and is a valuable tool for writers looking to engage readers in a personal and meaningful way.

Are you ready to use these writing structures?

In conclusion, the writing structures discussed above are just a few examples of the many ways writers can organize their thoughts and convey their ideas effectively. Whether you are writing fiction, persuading an audience, or exploring complex ideas, there is a writing structure that can help you achieve your goals. From the inverted pyramid to the circular narrative, each structure has its own unique strengths and can be used to create compelling and engaging writing.

By mastering these structures, writers can improve their communication skills and better connect with their readers. So whether you are a seasoned writer or just starting out on your first book, be sure to experiment with different writing structures and find the ones that work best for you. With practice and patience, you can become a master of the written word and create writing that is both informative and charming.

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