Factual writing deals with facts and everyday situations. Such a writing does not, by and large, call for an imaginative, personal, or creative response.
It is down-to-earth in nature. It requires you to give a logical shape to a set of given facts to explain a process, or to give directions on how to do something.
The following points should be kept in mind while attempting a factual composition:
1. Clarity and economy of writing :
The main purpose of an exercise of this kind is to see whether you can state facts clearly using only essential details. The process you are describing must be intelligible to someone who knows very little about the subject. The objective of this type of writing is to achieve a clear-cut and practical result.
2. Give all necessary information in the right order :
Events or process have an order which must be kept in mind in order to make your composition intelligible. It is advisable to jot down points in the beginning; and then arrange them in a logical pattern. You could apply the following method while planning your composition:
- When describing a process or giving instructions such as how to fly a kite, how to cook spaghetti and how to knit a garment, divide your material into steps corresponding to the steps that must be taken to perform the task concerned.
- When describing an equipment, an appliance or a piece of apparatus ( a microscope, for example,) divide your material into parts corresponding to the components parts of the object being described. Suppose you are required to describe the parts and the working of a bicycle, your plan must contain at least the following parts:
- the basic shape (e.g., wheel, frame, etc.)
- important accessories (e.g., seat, handle-bars, etc.)
- the working parts and their functions.
- When describing a transaction (e.g. applying for a driving license), divide your material into stages corresponding to the stages of the transaction.
3. Give facts that are relevant to the topic :
Keep to the facts that matter. Do not get carried away into flights of fancy which have nothing to do with the basic explanation or instructions. Remember, that in a factual composition, clear relevant statements arranged in a logical order are taken into consideration; and not imaginative touches or original ideas.
4. Arrange the facts in a pleasing manner :
The material in factual composition should not be presented in a flat or disjointed manner. Where possible, short simple sentences should be used. The facts must flow easily from one to the other so that the reader is carried along smoothly.
Here are two examples of factual writing :
Explain how to cook spaghetti
Use a large saucepan, two-thirds filled with salted water. Boil the water and add spaghetti to it, using 200 grams per person. Bring the water back to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally The spaghetti should be simmered for about 15 minutes. Longer cooking makes the spaghetti softer. Taste a piece to see if it is the texture you refer. When the spaghetti is ready, drain it carefully, and make sure that as much water as possible is removed. Return the spaghetti to the pan (but not over heat), add a generous portion of butter and allow this to melt evenly among the spaghetti. The spaghetti can be served as it is or with tomato sauce. Sprinkle cheese freely over the spaghetti on the plate.
Types of programmes on television
The programmes shown on television can be divided into plays, films and dramatized features; entertainment programmes and programmes designed for special interests. News bulletins occur at regular intervals throughout the day. Documentaries are programmes that deal with matters of general interest in a factual way. They can range from interviews to filmed reports. Drama is represented buy plays; commercial film from the cinema and special serials. Another type of dramatic programme is provided by the adaptation of books as serials. Entertainment programmes cover such items as song and dance sequence. Many well known comedians and singers have their own serials, either in their own right or as characters in a fictional situation. Quizzes would also come into this category. The programmes appealing to special interests cover a wide range. The sports enthusiast receive a generous proportion of broadcasting time. Programmes are specially provided for children, women and those interested in music and art. There are also programmes dealing with religious topics.