Voice is an important part of all writing. From research papers to blog posts (like this one!), the voice of the writing will determine the impact and effectiveness of your writing.
In this class so far, we’ve looked at a lot of different sources of writing, from more serious stories to playful entertainment articles.
Most of the news stories that I read fell under two categories. The first, a sort of actual-information-but-casual style used first person pronouns, made references, and also used some extra language to help set the tone of the article. However, it didn’t become overly flowery and kept itself fairly easy to understand. This type of writing seemed to be the most popular for more fun entertainment stories versus more serious stories. It’s useful for articles that are looking to give information as well as a personal opinion.
Phrases like “I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so ... scared!”, which opens this article from OnMilwaukee wouldn’t be found in a more serious article, but it does tell the reader that this article is going to be lighthearted and fun--hopefully-- to read.
The second style that was popular was a more serious news style. It didn’t use first person pronouns and kept opinions to a minimum. There are less superfluous phrases that don’t add anything but tone to the article, and instead the tone is set more by that choice and the information itself. Facts are presented fairly clinically, and the reader is encouraged to draw their own conclusions. Of course, they are still nudged towards certain views, but that’s common throughout most writing.
An example of this style can be seen in the following paragraph:
“Pedraza, a Beloit College grad, had worked at creameries throughout the United States. She was drawn back to Wisconsin through a chance encounter with Andy Hatch of Wisconsin’s Upland Cheese. Hatch happened to know a goat farmer looking to install a creamery and make cheese.”
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities where the author could put in opinions, more personal interjections, or descriptive fluff, but it is kept simple and to the point.
The article These Buildings were demolished for soulless surface parking surfaces by Jason McDowell for OnMilwaukee falls into the first style. This can be seen right away in the second sentence: “I try to avoid preservation simply for the sake of nostalgia, but seeing any building replaced by a parking lot, especially a surface lot, feels like a backwards move.” This article has information, and is giving it, but it’s also conveying a personal opinion.
Another article that uses this style, albeit in a very different way is the Urban Milwaukee article “Portrait Society Show Packs Emotional Punch” by Todd Mrozinski.
Mrozinski has a very artistic style of writing that uses a surplus of descriptors, metaphors, and “big picture” connections.
“Through Chardin’s masterful touch and use of soft and hard edges, the still life becomes a landscape. The haziness of the vase contour behind the sharpness of the peach creates space like a distant mountain range on a foggy day.”
This makes his writing well-suited for art-based stories, where moods and impressions are the basis of the story. It wouldn’t work so well for a story on, say, the latest election results or a water quality report. However, despite its differences it still fulfills the same purposes as McDowell’s OnMilwaukee article.
Another example from this article is the sentence, “The bottom edge glows with an unfinished portion of canvas and the richness of cool light and color harmony become symphonic as much as optic.” In another article, this sentence would seem out of place and overworked. In this article, however, it helps describe the tone of the painting and thus of the greater exhibit that is the focus of the article.
Different styles of writing, as I mentioned before, are used for different purposes. OnMilwaukee is a news site that focuses on more entertaining or light stories than other sites like ShepardExpress, which use more serious and impersonal language. McDowell’s article is a good example of this. Its subject isn’t groundbreaking news, but rather something someone would read out of personal interest, and the writing reflects that.
It doesn’t try to be scientific paper, and uses personal language to help ingratiate its views with the reader, making its arguments and opinions more persuasive and also more enjoyable and easygoing to read.