Voice and point of view

Picture of Demet Divaroren
Demet Divaroren
1 May 2015
With: 
Demet Divaroren

“Writing is the painting of the voice.” – Voltaire

Come, my friend. I give this exercise to you.

Hey, mate, want to try a writing exercise?

Want to give a writing exercise a go?

Voice is the rhythm of character thoughts and unique perspective. It evolves as our main character develops on the page. As writers, it’s our responsibility to get to know our characters as intimately as possible so they reveal themselves with their scars, truths, lies, beliefs and contradictions. Our characters’ world view, life experiences, education, culture, faith, age and gender shape their thoughts and the way they communicate. In turn, this creates their unique voice. Knowing your character well will help you determine the best point of view and the right words to tell their story.

In this exercise, your character is sitting on a train when a man and a woman start arguing a few seats down. Write a 300 word scene in first person (I, me, we) or third person (he, she, they) point of view detailing your character’s reaction. Is your character conflicted? Scared? Courageous? Indifferent? Does she/he intervene? What does your character notice? What does she/he think? What happens? Get to know your character better by questioning her/his thoughts and reactions.

Once you’ve written the scene look at the words on the page. Does your chosen point of view limit or enhance your character’s voice/perspective? Is it allowing you enough access to the character? What are the words telling you about your character’s personality? Are there words that jar or don’t fit? Replace and/or rearrange words to play with diction and meaning, and get one step closer to your character’s voice.

Happy writing! : )

About Demet Divaroren

Demet Divaroren writes fiction and non-fiction and is the co-editor of ‘Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia’ anthology. Her writing has appeared in Griffith REVIEW, Island magazine, Scribe’s New Australian Stories anthology, The Age Epicure and The Big Issue. Demet has taught creative writing at TAFE and has appeared as a panellist, guest speaker and workshop leader at literary festivals, institutions, and schools across Melbourne.

Take a closer look at Demet's Digital Short Story Clinic for Beginners course beginning in August 2016.