The writer’s voice has these elements: Rhythm, Tone and Flow. #97 10-20-03
Weekly Editor's Letter:
Does Your Writing Reflect Your Personality?
I read the other day that a good writer writes the way he speaks. His voice has rhythm, tone, and flows smoothly, reflecting his personality. His writing reflects his moods, whether mellow, bitter, happy or sad. The personality written into the story is the ingredient needed to make it live.
I believe if you think of your writing as personal writing, such as writing a letter to a friend, your distinct ‘voice’ will show through in a way to make the piece read smoothly and naturally.
In a letter, you want your friend to understand and see clearly what you’re telling him, so you are careful to describe your emotions truly, and are very exact in describing the situation.
I have taken some of my ideas and quotes from;
Ford, Marjorie (Marjorie A.) Writing as Revelation New York: Harper, 1992
The personality behind the writing is so important. This is what I call the Third Dimension. On the paper there are all the neatly written words and sentences. It may be completely objective, with ‘I’ not written there once. But behind the words and sentences, there is this deep, important, moving thing–the personality of the writer. And whatever that personality is, it will shine through the writing and make it noble or great, or touching or cold or supercilious or whatever the writer is. Brenda Ueland
REVISION or LOOK AGAIN
The most important phase of writing is the editing that comes after the rough draft has been completed. Good writers will agonize over their second and third drafts, because they know that getting words down onto paper was the easy part. What they’re working on now is the personal style–their ‘Voice.’ The writer’s voice has these elements: Rhythm, Tone and Flow. These are the keys to holding the reader’s interest.
Read your words again, as an impartial reader. Forget what you meant when you wrote them, your readers will only know what you actually wrote. Spend this time in shaping the words into a coherent, unified piece of writing.
Rhythm is simply the act of varying the length and type of sentence structures. You will need both short and long, simple and complex sentences. Vary the beginning word of each.
The only way to know if you’ve written with a natural rhythm is by ‘speaking it,’ read your work aloud. If a phrase is hard to read, or is something you would not really say, then the rhythm isn’t right. You’ll know it’s right by how pleasing it sounds when read aloud.
Can I write a happy tale if I’m very upset? No, for me it’s impossible; however, I do terrific rants. But if I were a poet, I might be able to write a very good emotional poem, or a number-one crying song. Tone of voice is conveyed by nuances of emotion, irony, and implication or innuendo. You have as many tones as you have emotions in your heart; these tones will color anything you write, so choose your words with care. The tone should match the piece you’re writing. If you’re finishing the final chapter or two of a ‘happily ever after’ love story the day you have an argument with your love, you may find the story ends in divorce or burial that wasn’t in the outline; however, it is a strong story with terrific imagery. It’s the tone of your mood.
When writing flows well, there are no bumps or confusing parts. The story flows from one idea to the next, smoothly. It makes sense and the reader is drawn into the piece totally; absorbed by the details and images you’ve placed in the mind’s eye. How do you know if your piece flows? If it's on the computer, print it out and read it aloud. By reading aloud you will be able to find most any problems.
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Edited by: esprit
Next Week's editor will be Starr* Rathburn