Monday, 15 October 2012

More About Writing

"Writer's Voice" is one of those things, like inferencing, we understand best in context. We usually need an example to help us see what we mean by 'Writer's Voice'.

This week, I provide three samples of writing (written by me) to demonstrate Writer's Voice. In the interest of saving space, here are two:

Sample A
In the summer, I went to Iceland. It was awesome! I took an airplane to the capital city. Then we took a bus to the hotel. Then we booked into our hotel. We had a view of the downtown area and the ocean. We took lots of day trips. On one trip, our car broke down in the middle of nowhere! I also saw a geyser explode into the air, strange extinct volcanoes, and lots of black lava rock.  We went to the Blue Lagoon, which is a famous hot mineral swimming pool. The food was really, really good! I really had a great trip. It was so awesome!

Sample C
Don’t Panic!
The wind was so strong that day on the west coast of Iceland . We could barely stand upright. We took our pictures of the stark lava rocks, the vast, stormy sky and the waves crashing to shore at the beach in the distance, and then hurried back to the car.

“Are we almost there?” asked my youngest son from the back seat. We were touring around the Snaeflellsjokell peninsula, a remote, rugged, mountainous area about two hours from the capital city of Reykajvik. He was getting bored and hungry.

“Just about!” I exclaimed.  The restaurant we hoped to stop at was about a ten minute drive down the highway. “I just want one more picture!”

I pulled over at the side of the road. My husband was the first to open his car door. WHAP! It happened in a flash. The wind pulled the door right out of his hand, tugged it back in the opposite direction, smashed into the side of the car—and then hung there, broken.

“Forget taking a picture,” I said. “Let’s get out of here!” I turned the key. Nothing. I turned the key again. Nothing. The car wouldn’t start!

“I don’t believe this!” I said. We were in a foreign country, stranded in the middle of nowhere, in a powerful wind storm.

Outside, cold rain started to pelt the side of the car.

Luckily, we had a cell phone and the emergency number for the car rental agency. We called and in an hour a man came to pick us up. He couldn’t fix the car but he did drive us to the nearest town so we could get a new one.

Both pieces discuss my trip to Iceland...but I'm sure you noticed in sample C:
-a more specific focus with increased detail
-vivid description
-inclusion of quotes and 'sound words' (WHAP!) (official term: onomatopoeia) to bring drama to the event
-more intriguing title which raises curiosity in the reader
-opening sentence raises questions in the readers mind (I didn't give it all away!)
-repetition builds suspense
-it is organized into paragraphs

In terms of Writer's Voice, I think its clear that Sample C has more 'sparkle' than A.

I like to sum up Writer's Voice as: personality and vividness.

Students have been reading novels or short fiction pieces in class. They have been experiencing 'Writer's Voice' and also the power of vivid description (reading comprehension strategy: visualizing a scene).

Now, as writers of a personal narrative ('Life Event'), they get to create that for other readers to experience.

Below are the curriculum areas this current task addresses, as posted in my classroom:

Students are currently revising their Life Events to include more vividness and 'writer's voice'.

I am looking forward to sharing their revised pieces with home! A copy of both versions will be eventually sent home so you can see their progress!

PS For more information on 'writer's voice', check out this great site!

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