Voice Notes


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Voice Notes

  1. 1. HANDOUT: WRITER’S VOICE YOUNGBLOOD: ENGLISH I, II, III Page 1 of 2 Voice “The writer's voice breathes life into a book and gives it a soul.” (Laura Backes, “Finding Your Voice”) I. Defined a. Part of an author's style, (the quality that makes his or her writing unique) b. Conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character c. In Fiction: i. Persona: the characteristic speech and thought patterns of a first-person narrator ii. A mixture of a writer's use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a particular text (or across multiple works). d. Impacts reader's experience of a work of literature one of the most important elements of writing. Important Elements of Voice (From Greece Public School District) I. Diction refers to a writer's word choice with the following considerations: a. denotation / connotation of a word b. degree of difficulty or complexity of a word c. level of formality of a word d. tone of a word (the emotional charge a word carries) e. (all of the above will often create a subtext for the text) II. Tone refers to a writer's ability to create an attitude toward the subject matter of a piece of writing; the tools a writer uses to create tone: a. Diction b. figurative language c. characterization d. plot e. theme III. Syntax refers to the arrangement--the ordering, grouping, and placement--of words within a phrase, clause, or sentence. Some considerations: a. type of sentence b. length of sentence c. subtle shifts or abrupt changes in sentence length or patterns d. punctuation use e. use of repetition f. language patterns / rhythm / cadence g. how all of the above factors contribute to narrative pace h. the use of active and/or passive voice IV. Unity refers to the idea that all of the ideas in a written piece are relevant and appropriate to the focus. Some considerations include: a. each claim (assertion, topic sentence) supports the thesis b. each piece of evidence is important and relevant to the focus of the paragraph or the piece of writing as a whole c. occasionally, a writer may choose to purposely violate the element of unity for a specific effect (some humorists / satirists will sometimes consciously do this) d. it is important to consider what has been omitted from a piece and examine the writer's intent in doing so V. Coherence refers to the organization and logic of a piece of writing; some considerations include: a. precision and clarity in a thesis and supportive arguments
  2. 2. HANDOUT: WRITER’S VOICE YOUNGBLOOD: ENGLISH I, II, III Page 2 of 2 b. the arguments ordered in the most effective way for the writer's intent c. the sentences and paragraphs "flow smoothly" for the reader; there should not be any abrupt leaps or gaps in the presentation of the ideas or story (unless the writer makes a conscious choice for a specific and appropriate effect) VI. Audience refers to the writer's awareness of who will be reading his / her piece of writing; some considerations are: a. Who are the targeted readers? b. How well informed are they on the subject? What does the writer want the reader to learn as a result of this piece? c. What first impression is created for the reader and how does the author's voice shape this first impression? d. How interested and attentive are they likely to be? Will they resist any of the ideas? e. What is the relationship between the writer and the reader? Employee to supervisor? Citizen to citizen? Expert to novice? Scholar to scholar? Student to teacher? Student to student? f. How much time will the reader be willing to spend reading? g. How sophisticated are the readers in regard to vocabulary and syntax? Resources: Backes, Laura. "Finding Your Voice." 2010. Write 4 Kids. 18 August 2010 <http://www.write4kids.com/feature3.html>. "Listening to Voice." 2010. Greece Public School District. 18 August 2010 <http://www.greece.k12.ny.us/instruction/ela/6- 12/Reading/Reading%20Strategies/listeningtovoice.htm>. Wiehardt, Ginny. "Voice -- Definition of Voice for Creative Writers." 2010. Definition of Voice for Creative Writers. 18 August 2010 <http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/glossary/g/voice.htm>. "Writer's voice." 2010. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 18 August 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writer's_voice>.