What are the 6 Traits of Writing?

The six traits of writing are voice, ideas, conventions, organization, word choice, and sentence fluency. Sometimes presentation is also included as an extra trait. In this case, we refer to this list as the ‘6 + 1’ traits of writing or as the seven traits of writing.

The six traits of the writing model can be used to teach almost any form of creative writing because it’s so simple! So whether you’re working on a narrative, explanatory, or persuasive piece, you’ll need to have the following traits in mind.

Now, let’s examine each vital trait in a bit more detail.


Voice the individual sense of tone that a writer brings to their writing. It is where a lot of emotion and meaning comes from in a piece of writing. Voice can be affected by modality, which is the amount of authority and conviction in word choice.

You can think of voice in your writing just like how you feel about your speaking voice. It’s determined not only by what you say but also by how you say it.

Example: It was very unfortunate that Sheila missed her bus because she had already been late once this week.

Describing a situation as unfortunate conveys a very sympathetic tone of voice. The reader can tell that the author feels sorry for Sheila rather than happy or angry that she missed her bus.

Can you think of other ways to describe this situation that would change the tone of voice?


It’s true that all good writing first starts with a good idea! Ideas are the meaning and development of the message. The ideas are strong when the message is clear and the reader understands what point of the story or argument.

To convey ideas clearly, a writer must know what they will write about!

Example: In this Wiki page, I will explain the six traits of writing and provide examples.

This sentence has all the features of a great idea! The writer has defined their subject matter (the six traits of writing) and told us their format (a Wiki page). They have also suggested to the reader what to expect by saying they will include examples.


Conventions are the mechanical correctness of the piece. These are the building blocks of writing. Poor grammar and spelling mean poor communication of your main ideas.

Example: The blue house is their house, and they’re having a party tonight.

Since they’re, and they all have different meanings, we know which spelling to use. These conventions also allow us to interpret the sentence correctly – otherwise, we’d be quite confused!


The organization is the internal structure of a piece. It includes using paragraph lengths and breaks that fit the writing. It also includes making sure that the piece has a clear start, middle, and end to give it a sense of movement.

Example: The organization of this Wiki page will include headings, subheadings, and paragraphs. It will also have an introduction and conclusion.

The use of headings, subheadings, and paragraphs determines the layout of a piece of writing. Imagine if this whole piece was just one long paragraph without any breaks. It would probably be very hard to read and impact the piece’s quality.

So, the organization of a piece of writing is essential!

Word choice

Word choice is the vocabulary that a writer uses to convey meaning. Simple word choice can make the piece more readable and clear, but it might miss the detail and color of specific words.

Example: The pizza was good, but the ice cream sundae was amazing!

Even though good and amazing are positive, they convey different feelings about each food.

Describing something as amazing lets the reader know it’s extra special. On the other hand, choosing to represent something as good can sometimes make it sound a bit ordinary.

Sentence fluency

Sentence fluency is the way that words and phrases flow throughout a text. Using varied sentence structures can make the writing flow better. A short sentence can have an impact, even if it is simple.

Example: It is good to use short sentences. They are much easier to read than long, winding sentences with commas, pauses, and breaks.

The first sentence is very simple and short. Short sentences can make the writer feel punchy, bold, and authoritative. At the same time, the second sentence is much longer and has lots of commas. As a result, it feels a lot slower and can be harder to follow.

So, use commas wisely!


Presentation is our bonus trait that sometimes isn’t explicitly taught. The presentation refers to the visual makeup of the text. The way that we read is affected by the type or size of the font, use of color, and amount of blank space, for example.

Example: I like to highlight essential words in bold for extra emphasis.

The use of bold text and italics makes certain words stand out. It lets the reader know they are essential. You might have already noticed that vital words in this piece are in bold, and examples are in italics. If you did, well done!

Choose your Reaction!