A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: VOICE Support Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT

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Giving Voice to Opposites

voice descriptors inspire a two-voice
monologue or poem

Student Writer Instructions:

In I am the Dog I am the Cat, author Donald Hall uses two companions--a dog and a cat--to create this funny comparison of life...as seen by two animals.  He writes from each animal’s point of view, one right after the other.  Each animal speaks (through monologues, much like you'd find in a play) about how it feels about certain topics.  What other animals might be able to talk this way?  What would they talk about?

Today you'll be choosing two different opposite characters, and you will be giving both of them a distinct voice, just as Donald Hall did in I am the Dog I am the Cat.  Once you think up your two opposites, you will next think up something they both might be able to talk about.  Then, you will write each character a monologue that shows the reader how you think each animal feels about the topic they are both talking about.  Your goal is to make each character sound different, as they talk about the same topic.  Giving characters a different sound is part of the voice trait in writing.

   To help you create voice in your writing, you might try choosing voice descriptors as part of your pre-writing process.  A voice descriptor is the feeling or emotion adjective you decide a character should be before you start writing.  Happy? Miserable? In love? Full of hate? Curious? Indifferent?

After you have chosen a voice descriptor, you should never tell your reader what it is.  Your character's monologue shouldn't just say I was happy when I won the contest.   Your monologue will be so much better if you show the reader your emotion: Sweat rolled down my forehead, and my cheeks felt flushed.  I gasped, “I am the CHAMPION!” as the referee raised my hand to proclaim me the winner of the wrestling match.

Once you have your opposites chosen and you've decided on the voice descriptor you will use for each one, start writing.  Your goal is to create a monologue for each where both talk about the same topic.  If you finish one set of monologues, can you create another about a new topic both might discuss?  If you make five or more, you might have your own version of the book I am the Dog I am the Cat!

Interactive Choices for Writing:

If you're struggling to start, click the buttons below for some ideas that might inspire you to launch your piece of writing.

Can you make one of these opposite voices... 

(It's okay to come up with your own animal here, if you're not inspired by any of ours!)


(It's okay to come up with your own voice descriptor here, if you're not inspired by any of ours!)

...when you write from its point of view?


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