Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Behind the Books: Voice Choice

Here’s a little game to get a stronger sense of voice in nonfiction writing. One of the books below has a stately, respectful voice. The other has a lively, playful voice. Which is which?

Here is a ship that holds her place.
She does not sail from port to port.
She does not carry passengers or mail or packages.
She holds one sure spot as other ships sail by.
She waits.

Pop, pop, pop.
What’s that sound?
Is this the rain at last?
No, it’s a rat,
hopping in lengthy leaps
like a tiny kangaroo.

What elements of the writing give each piece their distinct voice?

Lightship by Brian Floca features lots of repetition and sentences that are longer than they need to be. It gives a sense of thoroughness, a job carefully and patiently completed.

Dig, Wait, Listen by April Pulley Sayre features sound effects, a bolder format consisting of questions and answers, and alliteration.

Come back next week for another round of this game.

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