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Writing: Voice

Matching the Voice With the Topic


Today's Snack: Match cheese with crackers for today's snack, with its perfect match for a beverage: apple juice.




Lined writing paper | No. 2 pencil



In writing, we call it "voice" when you are exposing your personality with your words and ideas. It is what makes each piece of writing different, because each writer is different.


The whole point to writing is to express an individual message. So it's important to let your individual personality shine through, loud and clear, and distinctly different than anybody else's.


It's just as important to properly match the voice that you use for a piece of writing with your purpose. You need to think about the style and feeling that you want to "dress" your writing with - the "voice" you want your reader to hear as he or she reads your words. It should line up well with the topic and not be a mismatch.


When you're writing a science report, you don't want to draw any attention to yourself. So you pretty much conceal your "voice" in that kind of writing. You write factually and in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner. No jokes, no slang, no fiction.


But if you're writing the story of your life, a movie review, a letter to a friend, or an ad for a product you're trying to sell, then you SHOULD show your strong emotions and your distinct passions.


Show us, by what you write, what makes you sad and why. What makes you excited? What makes you angry? What makes you hopeful?


The more risks you take by revealing what you are interested in, and what you really think, the better the reader will feel that he or she knows you. And that's a good goal of writing: to reveal truth and connect with the reader.


A good writer will match his or her voice with the reading audience. If you were writing a report that is going to be read by your teacher, you know your teacher is a good reader and wants you to be serious and informative. So you will choose relatively serious words and write in a formal style with longer sentences that have more complexity.


But if you are writing a note to your best friend, you will probably choose slang terms and much more casual language, and you might not even write complete sentences, but just jot down notes and ask questions and so forth.


You're the same "you" in both pieces of writing - but you show a slightly different "face" to the world, and use a slightly different "pitch" to your voice.


So let's write five different sentences or paragraphsabout five different topics, using five different "voices." You choose what kind of "voice" is best to communicate the ideas. Write five sentences on a piece of paper for each of these different styles. Use different word choices, tones, and approaches to experiment with communicating as five different "you's."


For example, the first topic, basketball, is active, exciting and fun. You wouldn't use the "voice" of a bored, slow, sad person in writing about it.


See how you can match a "voice" with each of these topics to bring it alive:


1.      Basketball - in a sentence, tell what your favorite play is in basketball.

2.      Family life - tell how you know when someone in your family is mad at you.

3.      Outdoors - write a sentence or paragraphabout your favorite tree.

4.      Birthdays - pretend to be a 4-year-old about to have a costume birthday party, and write a paragraph all about it.

5.      History - write a paragraph that tells what time period of the past you wish you had lived in, and why.



By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010



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