Saturday, September 26, 2009

This Week's Practice Exercise

"I Hear Voices, Version 2"
Prepared by: Rhéal Nadeau
Reposted on: Sun, 27 Sept 2009

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Exercise: In 300 words or less, write a dialogue involving two or three characters,each with a separate voice. Use a minimum of dialogue tags. The voices should tell us something about each character and help us tell the characters apart. Use narrative, but keep it to a minimum.

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Character voice is one of the tools the writer can use to define character and set the mood. Voice consists of many things: diction, pronunciation, rhythm,sentence structure, word choice, idioms used, level of grammar, recurrent topics or speaking habits, and so on.

Think of the voices in Tom Sawyer--they help us know the characters and the setting. The voices change to reflect the characters' moods. In a more recent example, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible is a great example of the use of voice. The narration in this novel alternates between five characters: the mother, and her four daughters. Each of those characters has her own voice, so that if I open the book at random, I can quickly tell which character is narrating.

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Exercise: In 300 words or less, write a dialogue involving two or three characters, each with a separate voice. Use a minimum of dialogue tags. The voices should tell us something about each character and help us tell the characters apart. Use narrative, but keep it to a minimum.

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When critiquing a submission, point out your impression of each character, based on the dialogue clues.

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/).

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