Are you ready to experiment with writing voice?
Here are a few resources, based on the book The Writer’s Voice. I hope you find these helpful.
Fill out this form for every writing project and see if it guides your idea of voice.
Paragraph for Week 2 exercise
Here’s the excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe’s Philosophy of Composition that you will rework by swapping in shorter words:
My next thought concerned the choice of an impression, or effect, to be conveyed: and here I may as well observe that, throughout the construction, I kept steadily in view the design of rendering the work universally appreciable. I should be carried too far out of my immediate topic were I to demonstrate a point upon which I have repeatedly insisted, and which, with the poetical, stands not in the slightest need of demonstration — the point, I mean, that Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem. A few words, however, in elucidation of my real meaning, which some of my friends have evinced a disposition to misrepresent.
Paragraph for Week 5 exercise
Here’s the paragraph for the “Rearrange for Effect” exercise in Week 5. Copy/paste it into your word processor if you’re working online:
If you’re writing about topics with a great deal of ambiguity, be prepared to encounter the already-made-up mind in your readers. The world is filled with complicated, ambiguous situations. It may take a while for the evidence to come in, or for a situation to clarify. During that transitional time, we either accept uncertainty or make provisional decisions. Some people find ambiguity inherently painful or difficult to handle, and seize on a quick decision. According to psychologist Arie Kruglanski, people exhibit different levels of a need for closure as a personality trait. Individual levels vary; you can take a quiz on Kruglanski’s website to see where you land on his Need For Closure Scale. People with a strong need for closure tend to make decisions more quickly in uncertain situations. Having made a decision, they stick to it with more tenacity. And that tendency can lead them into trouble.
Read a summary of the survey of 255 authors about writing voice here.
Download this form for a handy checklist of the different exercises in the book, as a reminder to revisit the ones that you enjoyed most.
Checklists for ongoing use
Here’s a list of a few of the books that inspired this one.
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