Technical Writing vs. Literary Writing: Key Differences

Technical Writing vs Literary Writing

Technical and literary writing are two distinct writing styles used by authors depending on the subject matter, audience, and purpose of writing. Writing serves as a form of communication; however, often a piece is written to appeal to a specific category of readers rather than a broad cross section of readers. When a text is about a scientific subject and requires the use of technical specifications and jargon, it will have a different content and style than a piece written by a storyteller. This distinction represents the primary difference between technical writing and literary writing. Let’s examine each style more closely.

Technical Writing

Technical writing is a style chosen by scientists and experts in technical subjects to describe subject matter containing technical words. This style is intended for readers with specific interests in technical subjects. However, technical writing is not limited to technical or scientific subjects; a writer can choose to write on any topic technically. The primary goal of this writing style is to inform as much as possible, and it is often persuasive, as if urging the reader to take some action.

For example, if a writer presents an essay on global warming, including all scientific facts and figures, their intention is to make the reader think about the severe situation of climate change and global warming. The essay will be full of scientific details, with a formal tone. The text is factual, and the writer tries to be as straightforward as possible, with the length of the text only as long as necessary. Technical writing is restricted by standard formats, limiting the writer’s freedom of expression.

Key Takeaways

  • Technical writing is primarily informative and persuasive, while literary writing is more focused on entertainment and emotional arousal.
  • Technical writing is bound by standard formats and has limited freedom of expression, while literary writing allows for more flexibility and creativity.
  • The intended audience for technical writing is usually experts and academics, while literary writing targets a general audience.

Literary Writing

Certain texts are not necessary to read, but we read them because they entertain or educate us in a writing style that is flowing and full of figures of speech. Literary writing also aims to educate, but writers have more freedom to evoke readers’ emotions.

Literary writing can be personal and informal at times. The text is often lyrical or prosaic, with a lot of flexibility available to the writer. Literary writing has an aesthetic appeal, and writers take care to make it enjoyable for readers. There is no word limit for literary writing, and this style has a long history.

Differences Between Technical Writing and Literary Writing

• The content and writing style of technical writing differ from literary writing due to vastly different subject matter.
• The intended audiences for technical writing are academics and experts, while literary writing is for general readers.
• The main purpose of technical writing is to inform and prompt action from readers, whereas the primary purpose of literary writing is to entertain and evoke emotions.
• Technical writing is straightforward and to the point, while literary writing makes use of figures of speech.
• Technical writing is non-fiction, whereas literary writing is mostly fiction.
• Logic and reasoning dominate technical writing, while humanism is the main characteristic of literary writing.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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