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Creative Writing Exercises: The Differences of Style, Tone, Voice and So On

April 21, 2009

in Creative Writing Exercises

Today’s creative writing exercise is aimed at learning how to alter the style, tone, voice sentence structure and all the other elements that go into telling a story so as to be able to tell the story more effectively. There’s different ways to telling every story and some are more effective than others. This exercise helps in determining which way of telling is the best for a given story and will help you learn how to manipulate the fictional elements to achieve the desired effect. It is also good for shelling out the character’s voice, determining which tense is best or which narrative style the story should be told in.

And the exercise is…

Take a simple event: a woman is walking alone through a park. She trips and almost falls, looks around embarrassed, and sees a man smiling at her. Now describe this occurrence in five totally different ways (changes of tone, sentence structure, style, tense, voice, etc.), but make sure you retain the same setting and characters in all the versions. And this exercise will be effective only if the five versions of this scene are completely different from each other.

Adapted from:
The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

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