The Importance of Voice in Writing

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For my first paper I'll talk about voice, and how it affects the conversations that we have with other people, and how we perceive certain voices to sound in stories, and other works that we read. I think that in general voice is a type of mystery, and that it is one of those things that we really can't understand. When looking at a piece of writing I think that a clear and concise voice is one of the things that makes a piece work. This is my own feeling, and it might not agree with others, but when I'm reading a story, and it is full of good stuff like conversation, and heart felt feelings, I feel that the author is able to tell me what he/she is trying to say, I think that it has a better impact on the reader compared to the writing that goes on about nothing, and seems to only have one monotone voice.

I think that one of the best ways to create a clear voice while writing is to pretend that you are talking to a friend, and having a conversation about what happened in one of your most hated classes. For me this is an easy way to create a voice that isn't to dull, and with any luck will hold the attention of the reader all the way to the end of my work. This type of voice isn't all that hard to create, but using it at the right time might be a little tricky. According to what Morgan said in class the last time we met, voice isn't used all that often in technical writing. This would explain why some of the texts that we are forced to read are so boring. The authors of these books aren't looking to entertain, they are looking to educate, and get a point across to the reader. This is true foe the most part, but wouldn't it be nice if we could pick up a text, or a manual for a new computer, and understand what is being said? I think that in the near future many of the books, and manuals that will be coming out will have a new voice of their own. I think that in general people find it easier to understand what is being said if the writing or instructions that they are reading seem to make sense, and don't sound like the author is trying to make them feel like an idiot.

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This is one of the things that I have a problem with. When I'm reading a text, or a manual I like to know what is going on. I like to have things made clear enough to me so that I have to hunt a bit for the meaning, but I don't want to have to spend days on one project of reading.

While I was researching this topic on voice I was able to come up with a couple of books that seemed to make things a little more understandable, I think that they helped me to better understand what voice is, and what voice isn't, but I'm still not totally clear on what voice is. I believe that there isn't a set definition that we can use for voice, I think that voice can be anything that you want it to be, and we all will have a different idea of what voice is. I think this is one of the main reasons why voice is so hard for me to understand. In looking at voice, there are several different types of voice we can create. There is the ever present female and male voice, there is the political voice, the scientific voice, the voice of nations, the list can go on forever, but these are just a few of the examples that I could think of off the top of my head. I'm sure that if I was capable of thinking better I could come up with more ideas of what voice could be. I hope that when I say the female and male voice I don't offend anyone, because I think that these are two distinct voices that can appear in writing. When ever I read something that has a female voice, I'm reminded of the stereo type that has been put on these writings. Many people think that if a female voice is present in a writing it is sure to be over emotional, and it won't have any blood and guts that is associated with the male voice. On the side of the male voice there is a tendency to think that all male writing is about blood and guts, grunting, and deer hunting. But isn't it funny when a male is able to write a piece of writing that has emotion, passion, and so on. It seems to put a new light on what the male voice can sound like. So I guess what I'm trying to say is this. We shouldn't judge a piece of writing on what voice it has, and maybe we should get away from assigning a voice all together. I think that this can take away from the writing.

Another voice that I want to talk about is the voice from other nations. What I want to know is this; Is there really such a voice? I think that any writer, good or bad is capable of writing a paper or a story, and say it's from another country. But how do we know if it is or not? Another idea that pops into my mind is this; How is it that a paper can have a Native American voice, or an African American voice? I guess this shows my ignorance about writing, but I think that this is nearly impossible. I guess it would be a little easier if you were Native American, or African American, but being that I'm neither one of these I find it hard to write this way. I hope that I don't insult anyone with this last paragraph, but these are some of the things that I think about when I read. I think that the people who can write in a voice that is different than their own have a true gift, and I wish that I was able to write in such a way. I think that people who are able to write this way are well rounded, and have a better sense of what the people around them are really like. I wish that I was more like this, I think that it is important to learn about other cultures.

The last time that Mr. Morgan lectured, he made the comment that voice is the sum total of three elements:

1. Logic
2. Emotion
3. Ethics: character appeal

I think that for the most part these elements are easy to understand, but I want to spend some time, and clarify what I think these elements mean. I think that a logical voice is sort of like the voice of reason. This is the voice that makes you think about the reading, and helps to make things more understandable to the reader. I think that the voice of reason is one of the most over looked voices that we have, and this is due to the fact that there are many people (including myself) that don't want to know what is really happening around us. I think that the voice of logic is found mostly in the news, and in writings that seem to have some sort of cause.

The voice of emotion is one of the most used voices. Every time I have read a book for fun there seems to be some sort of emotion on each page. I have yet to read a book that didn't have some sort of emotion in it. This of course doesn't include text books. One of the best books that I have read in the past couple of months that has vast amounts of emotion was Schindler's List. I think that every emotion I know of was in this book, and if you haven't read it yet I strongly suggest that you do. I think that emotion is one of the easiest voices to write, and to understand. It is one of the few things that is able to cross the many cutlers and genders of the world, and still have the meaning that it started out with.

The next element is the voice of ethics. This is one of the most controversial elements of writing, and one that I have a hard time dealing with myself. I think that the voice of ethics makes us ask ourselves if what is being said is acceptable or not. It's so easy to get bent out of shape over something that is misunderstood. Every person has a different idea about what is and isn't ethical, but we need to use our judgment when faced with an issue that might cause a problem. I think that when writing on a topic that has any amount of controversy, we should say what it is that we want to say, and say it in a way that doesn't deliberately hurt someone else. It seems like to many times some writers get wrapped up in their discussion and they forget that there are people that don't agree with what is being said. But then again, maybe that is the purpose for writing this way. Maybe the point of the ethics is to get people to question things, and make them think of what is right, and what is wrong.

The last issue that I want to talk about is the voice that we hear in conversations. When voice is used in conversations there are many different tones that can be used. This topic isn't new to people, but I wonder if people have every sat back and listened to others talk? This is one of my favorite pass times, but I want you to know I'm not listening to be rude, I'm listening because I think it is interesting how people can express their feelings through voice. I guess I'm trying to justify my nosey roseiness.(TE-He)

Like the literary voice, conversational voice has many different elements, and these elements can change from person to person. I have to admit, I don't know all the elements, but I think I know some of them. Some of these elements might be tone, clarity, volume, power etc. I guess like the literary voice, I've never really paid that much attention to it. It's one of those things that I have taken for granted, I just assumed I knew what they were. It's times like these when a person realizes that they aren't as smart as they thought they were. I think that one of the best places to look for different voices is in the E-Mail that is sent back and forth in class. In looking at some of the voices, I see voices that are confused about how to do something, the voice of intelligence, the voice of humor, and the voice of anger. These are just a few that I can remember from the last time I checked my mail, but I'm sure that there will be many more before the class ends.

I hope that I have shed some light on what voice is, and what it can do. I think that voice is one of the most important and powerful tools used in writing, and it is one of the most difficult tools to understand. I know that I have only begun to understand what voice is, and with and luck by the end of the quarter I will know know more about it. I find it interesting that this is the first time that I have really thought about voice, and what it means. If anyone can help me better understand what voice is I would like to hear anything you have to say.


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