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Use Your Words

_Voice separates MEH stories from the ones that grab attention. _Voice is the unique way _a writer combines words and strings together sentences. It is _a story's personality, its manner of expression. _A compelling voice is the difference between "Oh, shucks!" and "Oh, slippery slush!" (Little Red Gliding Hood)_. Between "Charmaine's showing off" and "Charmaine's strutting hard enough to shame a rooster" (The Quickest Kid in Clarksville). And between "Pancake _escaped_" and "Pancake rappelled down a rope of linguini" (Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast)_. _Examine your story for common language - for example, circle blah verbs and insert something more unique.

The Impersonator

This is Part I of an exercise that practices voice. Pick up a book written by an author that you admire. Absorb the voice in which they write. Now try writing a page of your own story, but in their voice.

Batman versus Superman

Comic books don't have the luxury of prose, so what's said out loud needs to be both relevant and authentic. Take any conversation in your manuscript and try to transport it into the pages of a comic book. What is really important that MUST be said? What remains a visual?

The Eavesdropper

The most important thing about dialogue in any story is that it must sound real. The next time you go outside, discreetly listen in on any conversation between two people (Person A and Person B) for five minutes. Observe everything about the way that they talk. Then go home and "fill in the blanks," using Person A and Person B's cadences and speech patterns to complete the conversation yourself.

An Outsider

The next time you're about to write a long passage of dialogue, show it from the perspective of a stranger watching your characters from afar. The stranger cannot hear what is being said; he can only observe their behaviors, appearances, and actions. You'd be surprised how much you can deduce about two people from just their body language.