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Voice Lessons

teaching about Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax and Tone based on the book Voice Lessons by Nancy Dean
by

Kris Knutsen

on 6 September 2013

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Transcript of Voice Lessons

Analyzing Literature through the use of Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax and Tone
Voice Lessons
The author's choice of words
Diction
The writer's basic tools:
they create COLOR and TEXTURE of the written work
they both REFLECT and DETERMINE the level of formality
they SHAPE the reader's PERCEPTION
Word Choice
DO NOT SKIP WORDS YOU DON'T KNOW
Specific diction brings the reader into a SCENE, enabling FULL PARTICIPATION in the writer's world.
The writer's PURPOSE -- whether to convince, entertain, amuse, inform or plead -- partly determines the diction.
Words are chosen specifically for EFFECT on the reader and will reflect the writer's purpose.
Types of Diction
FORMAL
INFORMAL
INFORMAL or NATURAL diction: This type of diction is the norm in ESSAYS, NEWSPAPERS, and WORKS OF FICTION
SLANG
or COLLOQUIAL diction: This type of diction borrows from slang and is typically used to capture or create a MOOD or capture a particular HISTORIC or REGIONAL dialect.
Connotation and Denotation
CONNOTATION: the meaning suggested by a word which shows the FEELING of the word.
Connotation causes EMOTIONAL reaction.
It can be either POSITIVE, NEGATIVE or NEUTRAL
DENOTATION: the dictionary definition of a word.
Detail
Includes FACTS, OBSERVATIONS, and INCIDENTS used to develop a subject and impart voice.
Detail brings LIFE and COLOR to description, focusing the reader's attention and bringing the reader into the SCENE.
Detail encourages the reader to PARTICIPATE in the text. Use of detail influences reader's views on a topic, the setting, the narrator, and the author.
Detail shapes reader attitude by focusing attention.
Detail can also state by UNDERSTATEMENT, by a LACK of detail.
Imagery
Imagery is the VERBAL REPRESENTATION of SENSORY EXPERIENCE.
Imagery depends on both DICTION and DETAIL. It often uses figurative language such as SIMILES and METAPHORS.
syntax
the way WORDS ARE ARRANGED IN SENTENCES.
HOW writers control and manipulate the sentence determines VOICE and imparts PERSONALITY to the writing.
Syntax encompasses WORD ORDER, SENTENCE LENGTH, SENTENCE FOCUS, and PUNCTUATION.
Conformity: Most English sentences follow a SUBJECT-VERB-OBJECT/complement pattern.
Deviating from the expected word order can serve to startle the reader and draw attention to the sentence.
Ways to Deviate
1. INVERT subject and verb
2. Placing a COMPLEMENT at the BEGINNING of the sentence
3. Placing an OBJECT in front of the verb
Good writers shift between CONFORMITY and NONCONFORMITY, preventing readers from getting bored, but without using unusual sentence structure to the point of distraction.
Sentence Length
is another aspect of syntax.
Sentence length contributes to VARIATION and EMPHASIS among sentences.
REPETITION is another way writers achieve sentence focus. PURPOSEFUL repetition of a word, phrase, or clause emphasizes the repeated structure and focuses the reader's attention on its meaning.
Punctuation
is used to reinforce MEANING,
construct EFFECT, and
express the writer's VOICE.
SEMICOLON
COLON
DASH
Semicolon - gives equal weight to two or more INDEPENDENT CLAUSES.
COMPOUND SENTENCE
Colon -- is often used between independent clauses if the second SUMMARIZES or EXPLAINS the first.
The colon sets the expectation that IMPORTANT CLOSELY RELATED information follows.
Dash -- marks a sudden change in THOUGHT or TONE, sets off a brief SUMMARY, or sets off a parenthetical part of the sentence.
Dashes are meant to convey CASUAL tone.
Types of Sentences
Simple Sentence: ONE SUBJECT and ONE VERB.
Compound Sentence: TWO independent clauses joined by a CONJUNCTION or SEMICOLON
Complex Sentence: ONE independent clause plus ONE or MORE subordinate clause.
Compound-Complex Sentence: TWO or more independent clauses and ONE or MORE subordinate clauses.
Other Types of Sentences
Loose Sentence: main idea stated at the BEGINNING of the sentence followed by additional information.
Periodic Sentence: main idea WITHHELD until the END of the sentence. It makes sense only when the end of the sentence is reached.
Balanced / Parallel Sentence: The phrases or clauses balance each other in likeness or structure, meaning, and/or length.
Sentence Patterns
Natural Order:
the SUBJECT comes first followed by the predicate.
Inverted Order
(Sentence Inversions) - the PREDICATE comes before the subject.
Split Order:
the PREDICATE is divided into two parts with the SUBJECT coming in the middle.
Tone
the expression of ATTITUDE. It is the writer's implied attitude toward his SUBJECT and AUDIENCE.
the writer creates tone through the SELECTION (diction) and ARRANGEMENT (syntax) of words, and by purposeful use of DETAILS and IMAGES.
Tone sets the relationship between READER and WRITER.
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