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Writing: Voice

Tape Recorder Caper


Today's Snack: Put your own style into a peanut butter sandwich. Choose something that is totally "you" to put with it. Jelly? Sliced bananas? Honey? Chopped peanuts? Thin apple slices? Enjoy your unique creation with a glass of milk.





Tape recorder

Piece of writing paper | No. 2 pencil



Next time you're with your friends, stop and listen to their voices. See how each one sounds different? Each has its own natural rhythm.


Ask your friends if it's OK, and turn on a tape recorder. Try to forget that it's on, and speak naturally. Then listen to the recording. Do you notice how everyone has a different "voice"?


Some kids ask a lot of questions, and other kids NEVER do. Some interrupt; others hardly say anything, but what they do say is wise and thoughtful.


Some are mostly silly, but others are mostly serious. Then there are those who are dramatic, those who are kind of emo, and those who are loud, wacky, off-the-wall and creative.


Each different "voice" shows personality and sends out information through what they say, and how they say it.


It's the same way with how you write.


It's important for you to express your feelings and emotions through your writing "voice." Your readers should feel that they know you just as well as if they were listening to you speak.


They should understand your feelings, and care about what you think.


If your writing is so special and different that no one else in the whole world could have written a story or paper, then you have properly used your writing "voice."


You need to write just as if you are telling a story aloud. Then it will be in your own "voice." That means the reader will absorb the words and sentences on the page just as if the reader was listening to you tell the story, orally.


Once you know what your own voice is like, and practice writing with it, then you can experiment with copying other voices. Soon, you will be like an actor or actress - only instead of acting different parts, you can write in different voices!


To do this, spend some time listening to your friends, family and people around you to hear how each person's voice is different and distinctive. Make a game out of guessing who is speaking just by listening to a voice, or guessing what is going on in their life to make them sound that way.


Does Cody speak in one- and two-word bursts? You could have a character like that - kind of gruff and gets to the point quickly.


Do you know anybody who's from another country, whose accent you could copy?


Is anybody stuck in the habit of always saying "like" several times in any conversation?


Does Alexa talkreallyfastandhardlyevertakeabreathbecauseshe'salwayssoexcitedallthetime?


Does Madison tend to end each sentence as if it is a question? You know? Like, maybe she's not so sure of herself?


What other types of "voices" are there, that you might use in your writing?



By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010

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