What is Context in Writing? [6 Context Types Included]


While it’s important to have an excellent story, giving context in your writing is vital to giving the story that means.

Imagine you’re in a bookstore and also you decide up a ebook with an intriguing title. You open it to begin to learn the primary chapter and it’s dialogue between a couple of characters.

Imagine studying it for a couple of pages however there’s no trace to who the characters are or what’s going on. There are a whole lot of feelings however there’s no context or understanding of what’s taking place within the story. You would get pissed off and almost certainly put the ebook again down.

This is strictly why context in writing is so essential. It offers your readers a full understanding of the setting, what is occurring between characters, and offers that means behind all the occasions taking place.

Imagine studying one thing like Harry Potter however with no context that they’re in a world the place magic exists. Or studying a Jane Austen novel with out understanding the household dynamic or the social dynamics.

When you present the reader with context, they will comfortably comply with the story as a result of they know what’s taking place and why sure characters do what they do.

We’ll go over what context is, the categories you can provide readers, and the best way to combine it in your general writing.

What is context in writing and why does it matter?

Context helps to offer your writing that means.

Have you ever had one thing in your life taken out of context? You sat again and thought, “That’s not what I meant!”

The very same factor can occur to your writing, which is why you must embrace it in your writing.

Most of the books you’ve learn offer you context behind what you’re studying. Let’s undergo some examples. (Potential ebook spoilers forward!)

If you needed to learn The Great Gatsby in highschool, you almost certainly bear in mind the New York setting within the well-known Jazz Age. Knowing the context of Gatsby being in love with Daisy offers all the story that means and helps you perceive why Gatsby does what he does.

In the traditional story Dracula, it’s important to realize it takes place within the late 1800s and takes place in each Transylvania and England. This units the general temper of the placement and the customs on the time.

Then, take one thing akin to Lord of the Rings. To learn the ebook, you’d want to know all the wars which have gone on, what this fictional world is like, and who all the main characters are to even start to learn all of it.

Of course, there are deeper ranges of context as properly.

In the well-known story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it’s essential to realize it was written earlier than the Civil War and had an amazing impression on the abolitionist trigger within the 1850s.

There are many layers to a narrative, the period of when it was written, and in addition the creator’s life story that influences the general angle of the ebook. Of course, this received’t matter as a lot as once you’re writing the story, however you must bear in mind these parts if you happen to’re pulling inspiration from different writers.

Types of context in writing

There are numerous types of context you may want to incorporate to offer your readers an correct understanding of the story. This won’t embrace each single sort of context you would want on your story, however it offers you a fantastic place to start out. You can discover different storytelling ideas right here.

All of those assist both clarify the state of affairs your characters are in or it offers the reader a deeper understanding of why they act the best way they do.

Location context

This can vary anyplace from the bodily location on this planet to an entire new world that you simply’re creating and giving them context. If you’re writing about characters in area that can type a unique context than characters on the open ocean.

Keep in thoughts, if you happen to’re creating an entire new world that doesn’t exist in our actual one, you have to to offer a whole lot of context to construct the world within the readers’ thoughts. Some examples of this embrace Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.

Historical context

Giving the historic context of a spot may help readers perceive what’s happening. For instance, you may want to incorporate wars, the historical past of the panorama or city, what the world is understood for, or anything you may want to incorporate.

Knowing the timeframe of a narrative may assist readers perceive issues akin to what sort of expertise might need been created already or if there are particular financial situations taking place.

Situational context

You may want to incorporate different storylines to offer the reader context into what is occurring. Some examples may embrace a current divorce between characters, an upcoming courtroom case that’s pending, if a personality simply obtained out of jail, and so forth.

This one is especially key to understanding why characters are feeling or performing a sure type of means.

Emotional context

Providing your readers with emotional context may help clarify why some dialogue occurs in a specific means. For instance, if a easy dialog about espresso creamer turns explosive, it’s a good suggestion to tell the reader that that is taking place as a result of each of those characters have stress attributable to preventing over a household’s inheritance.

Cultural context

The sort of tradition your story takes place in will change a whole lot of the context. Keep in thoughts the kind of viewers you’re writing to as properly as a result of that can change how a lot or how little clarification you’ll want to incorporate.

Readers who didn’t develop up in a sure tradition may want extra thorough clarification than people who find themselves native to an space. You may contemplate together with sure forms of meals or rituals from completely different components of the world.

Cultural context may embrace the social and political undertones which are happening all through your story, too.

Linguistic context

How folks talked up to now and in several components of the world can have a big impact in your general dialogue. For instance, how characters converse in Shakespeare’s tales and the way Millennials speak is worlds aside.

If you’re going to incorporate slang and different shorthand phrases, chances are you’ll or might not want to incorporate an understanding of what these phrases imply otherwise you may resolve that it’s not essential to incorporate.

How to offer context in writing

Now that you already know what context in writing is, we’ll go over the best way to embrace it in your writing.

If you’re writing a ebook, the only greatest issue you must embrace is all the context somebody would want to get all for your story.

If you give an excessive amount of context, you may give your reader an excessive amount of data directly and lose them when you clarify the whole lot they should know. However, if you happen to give too little context, they received’t perceive what’s taking place.

You’ll have to discover a delicate steadiness between your context and your story. You don’t need them to really feel like they’re studying a historical past ebook as an alternative of a narrative.

To begin, you’ll wish to undergo the classes from the final part and determine what components you’ll want to incorporate in your story.

Depending on the story and your general writing model, you may additionally want to consider what you wish to maintain a thriller or not. Not the whole lot needs to be defined, particularly if it’s going to finish up spoiling the story.

Know your supposed viewers

You’ll have to know your supposed market / viewers earlier than you begin to write something. That offers you an thought of what to incorporate or not embrace. For instance, if you happen to’re writing a ebook for enterprise executives, you don’t want to incorporate explanations for fundamental enterprise issues they already know.

Keep in thoughts, you might need readers who will not be your supposed viewers discover and browse your writing. You might want to resolve what to incorporate or not embrace in case this occurs.

Use characters to offer context

One enjoyable method to embrace context in your story is to have your characters inform tales and embrace the context. That can stop you having to offer an extended exposition to get them in control. Inside of dialogue and discussions you’ll be able to embrace the historical past between characters or give readers an understanding of what’s taking place and the way they’re feeling about it.

Get suggestions when you’ll be able to

You’ll wish to get suggestions when you’ll be able to. That will assist you determine what’s lacking within the context of your story. It’s onerous to evaluate what’s lacking out of your story when you find yourself the one writing it and you already know all of it so properly.


Context in storytelling is important to creating certain you’re telling an excellent story. You’ll wish to discover a good steadiness between giving them sufficient data however not an excessive amount of data. To study extra in regards to the craft of writing Fiction, take a look at this free coaching now we have together with Self-Publishing School.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here