As this chapter on voice explains, one of the most important tasks of writers is to use the voice or mood of specific words, phrases, and sentence structures to emphasize how an audience pays attention to key concepts and events the writer includes in their texts. As you prepare to write the first draft of your assignment for Unit 2, look carefully at the strategies for “voice” described in Chapter 18 and try to find ways that each strategy might help you control the significance of your narrative.

Instructions

After you read p. 531-541 in the CEL, go back and read the section on “Choosing Details” again (531-533). Note how the example included from Cindy Bosley’s essay on her hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa shows stacking detail after detail about the violence that went on behind-the-scenes in her hometown.

With Bosley’s essay as a model, respond to the following questions about the details you might include in your writing to emphasize the significance of what happened to you.

  • What “abstract” details describe the event you are writing about?
    • (i.e. “It was about sports. I learned an important lesson. The lesson was about the value of selflessness.”)
  • Following Bosley’s example, what specific details might you “stack” that gives readers special insight into what it was like to be there in the moment you are writing about?
    • (i.e. “I learned that day how much my selfishness hurt my friends. Alvin quit after the season and never played sports again. Simon was not given any scholarship offers despite being highly recruited just weeks before. And even Theodore, who always had something nice to say, spent a month or two avoiding me in the hallways.”)

Respond to these questions in at least one paragraph of 150-200 words. You do not have to answer each of these questions in a separate paragraph, but your response overall should show that you are considering all of the questions above. 

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