Writing Narration: Voice



Rewrite your third (i.e. most in-depth) passage from Tuesday’s writing prompt three times (at least ½ – 1 page long each), this time using first-person narration. In each of the three rewrites, convey a different voice in your character’s narration, so that you have three passages with an identical plot but each with a distinctive personality narrating the scene. The voice (and therefore personality) of your protagonist should be clearly differentiable among the three. To do this, think about who your character is: Male or female? Old or young? Witty or serious? Outgoing or reserved? Uptight or laidback? Anxious or confident? A realist or an idealist? A leader or a follower? The list is endless. The traits the three versions of your character have will influence how they perceive the world, and this should be visible through their voice in the narration.


Experimenting with voice allows you to practice writing characters with distinctive personalities, so you are not merely writing characters with indistinguishable voices, which, more often than not for beginning writers, sound a lot like their own. As you establish the voice that suits your character best, the more you will get a sense of the kind of person they are and how they might react to certain situations. Then the story will begin to build around this information on its own.

For Later

As you write in this course beyond, should you choose to do so, use this exercise to explore the possible voices for your characters so they become distinctive. Draw from your past experiences of interactions with different people, analyzing the way they speak or their perceptions of the world and adapt it for your characters to make it more realistic. Build your characters into people.


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