VOICE The Voice is the writer coming through the words, the sense that a real person is speaking to us and cares about the message. It is the heart and soul of the writing, the magic, the wit, the feeling, the life and breath. When the writer is engaged personally with the topic, he/she imparts a personal tone and flavor to the piece that is unmistakably his/hers alone. And it is that individual something–different from the mark of all other writers–that we call voice. Key question: Would you keep reading this piece if it were longer? Key scoring points: Strong writing speaks directly to the reader in a manner that is individual, compelling, engaging, and has personality. Developing writing seems sincere, but not fully engaged or involved. The result is pleasant or even personable, but not compelling. Beginning writing seems indifferent, uninvolved, or distanced from the topic and/or the audience. 5 3 1
VOICE A Writer Should Do the Following: • Write honestly and from the heart • Share his/her feelings about the topic • Use language that brings the topic to life • Care about what he/she has written • Write to be read • Use more expression than an encyclopedia article • Give the reader a sense of the person behind the work • Connect with the reader
VOICE Tips for Success • Adjust voice based on audience • Don’t stifle personality! • Don’t be afraid to share feelings “Voice separates writing that is read from writing that is not read… voice is the writer revealed.” ~Donald Murray
VOICE Remember… • Voice isn’t as hard as it seems. Just be yourself: otherwise, the voice won’t be your own. • Think of your audience. Your voice changes as your audience changes. Would you tell your friends that you wrecked your mom’s car the same way you would tell you mom? Come up with a personal connection to the reader. • Think of your topic and how you feel about it. Get emotional, but don’t TELL your reader how you feel – SHOW him/her how you feel! • What is your opinion? Support it with specific details, remembering to avoid “you” and “I.”
VOICE • Look at your topic from different angles and choose the one you are most comfortable with presenting. Here are some angles you can use: • Humorous • Serious • Sarcastic • Mysterious • If you get stuck, try using an unexpected angle. For example, if you are writing about a serious topic, like taking a driver’s test, approach it with humor.
Happy Ridiculous Bereaved Bizarre Concerned Thoughtful Passionate Tentative Caring Warm Funny Sarcastic Timid Introspective Superficial Scholarly Profound revealing Pleasing Earnest Flat Dismal Frightened Courageous Riveting Horrifying Subtle Delightful Thrilled Rude Detached Gracious Critical Entertaining Clever Biting VOICE What other voices do you hear?