Style and Voice

Here's another article that explores "what if" things had been different in history. Check it out later if you are still having trouble with the "significance" part of this portfolio; I think it does a good job of explaining why it matters that history unfolded the way it did!


  • Let's get the ball rolling with a 5-10 minute word-a-thon.
  • Think about the writing that you did so far and ask yourself if it seems like something your friends or family would pick up to read. Is it something that catches the interest of the reader? Does it do the things you want it to do so far?
  • Keep writing and let your thoughts guide you.
  • We can discuss anything about your writing so far, if you care to.

Narrative Style

  • Today, lets break down your writing in a way that helps you identify how you are conveying your message to your audience; let's examine narrative style and what it can do for your writing!
  • First, let's discuss & clarify what we mean by "narrative style"...
    • Common types of narrative:
      * 1st person
      * 3rd person objective
      * 3rd person omniscient
    • There may be combinations of these, depending on your purpose and genre!
    • Narrators can also sometimes be "unreliable"!
  • What does your story tell us and what does it leave to the imagination?
  • Who is telling us the story, and why should we (or should we not) listen to the storyteller?
  • If you changed narrative style, would it help develop the impact of your paper?
  • "Narrative tension or narrative 'pull' is just as important in creative nonfiction as it is in fiction. . . . [Y]ou need to think about when to withhold information and when to reveal it."
    -(K. Iversen, Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. Pearson, 2004)


  • Every writer has their own "voice". Do you know what yours is?
  • Voice is a reflection of experience!!
  • Jot down three qualities of your "voice" that you hope come through in your writing. Keep them to yourself for now!
  • Share your writing so far with a neighbor.
    • Try to identify three specific things that describe your neighbor's "voice" in their writing.
    • These can be things like "formality", "agree-ability", "conviction", "humor", "thoughtfulness", "tone", or any emotional quality that you might be able to attribute to the narrator, such as anger, angst, compassion, nervousness, irritability, etc.
  • Compare the qualities of voice that you had hoped to impart with the ones identified by your neighbor. Are they similar?
  • Once you have an idea of how your voice comes across to the reader, ask yourself whether your writing elicits the kind of response that you had hoped for and whether or not you can change it to accommodate your goals.


  • Briefly check out the Never Again series by R.J. Rummel. His books are alternate histories, like your P1 projects! Try to identify his narrative style and what gives his writing "voice". Does it help make his story effective? Is it believable? We'll freewrite about it before we discuss H2G2 on Friday.
  • Make sure you're up to speed on H2G2! You should have read through chapter 16 and be ready to discuss it on Friday!