Monday, February 22, 2010

Crash Course on Fiction: Description and Voice, Part 2

Description can infuse vibrancy into a story . . . or drag it down. The careful selection of detail will often determine which will occur. So how do you determine which details to include? That’s where voice comes in.

While often debated in writing circles, voice boils down to how the description and narrative is told. Word choice. Sentence structure. Word order. Metaphors and similes. In short, voice is where description (what is experienced) intersects with point-of-view (the lens through which the experience is described).

So a child might use short sentences and small words, where an adult might use three-syllable words and many compound sentences. An artist might notice the colors of a scene while an engineer the structure. And on it goes.

But when these unique bents of speech patterns are captured consistently, voice comes into being.

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