Without using all uppercase letters or bold type, how do you yell in writing? How do you whisper…or cry or smile? Part of the answer lies in voice. What exactly is voice in writing and how is it created? Is the voice you hear in your head the same voice your readers hear? Use this activity to identify strategies and tools that establish voice. InstructionsSelect tools and/or strategies used in each excerpt.Select "Next" to continue.
Creating Voice
My mother and fiancé were actually sitting together, their mutual hatred of each other squeezed like a child between them.
Incorrect. Try again.
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Question 1 of 11
Correct. The author speaks in common, everyday words, using “like” to compare two seemingly unlike things. This helps readers understand the emotions of the subject in this situation.
choice of details
The cassette tape had been given to me by my Hispanic just-released-from-young-boy-prison-in California ex-boyfriend Jim.
Question 2 of 11
Correct. Stringing a series of words together with hyphens and choosing vivid details help create a visual image in the reader’s mind.
sentence length
Correct. Using allusions engages readers through common knowledge. The writer achieves conciseness by communicating the experience without having to explain these qualities.
Question 3 of 11
If I were to characterize it now, I might say that it seemed to be a particular mix of the medieval Franciscan ideal, International Workers of the World notions of brotherhood and solidarity…
sentence structure
He was saving his trump card, me, for the last half of the game.
Correct. The writer communicates the subject’s perception of the situation through a simple comparison while using commas to slow the pace and draw attention to the comparison.
Question 4 of 11
choice of detail
In a voice so screeching that it rivaled fingernails on a blackboard, she told him that he was a disgraceful coach and that he should be ashamed of himself.
Question 5 of 11
Correct. The details connect a topic to a common experience that most readers have shared.
During the ‘40s and ‘50s it was THE high school to attend, very academic, but by the mid-‘70s it was starting to run down, perhaps stigmatized by a few race riots in ’68.
Question 6 of 11
Correct. Understatement establishes an informal, tongue-in-cheek tone that underscores the schools declining reputation.
Question 7 of 11
The Grapes of Mrs. Rath
Correct. Alluding to a well-known title through a parody engages readers and gives them some initial insight into the topic.
Didn’t even talk that much, just gave us a lot of stories to read.
Correct. Unconventional sentence construction creates informality, as if the writer were in a conversation with the reader.
Question 8 of 11
I was smitten with these masterpieces and savored Steinbeck’s work like a rich meal.
Correct. Comparing two unlike things using "like" vividly communicates how the writer feels about the experience.
Question 9 of 11
Question 10 of 11
Correct. The long sentence lends itself to creating a self-reflective voice.
Even the strange relations who only appear at weddings and at funerals came from all around, smothering me with noisy talk when what I wanted most in the whole world was to curl up into myself and discover who I had become.
Correct. This short, straightforward sentence establishes a determined, "no frills" voice.
Reset Activity
My neighbor was Martha.
Question 11 of 11