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Saturday, November 08, 2008


Persona That Pops

By Jill Earl

Not sure if your voice is the right one for that piece you’re pulling together? Try swapping your persona with one different from your own to add some interest in your writing.

What’s persona, you may ask? For the purpose of the class, persona was defined as a character assumed by an author of a literary work, or the voice a narrator adopts to tell a story.

In an essay writing workshop I recently took, part one of the given exercise was to write about our first kiss. With pens scratching on pads, we got down to raiding our memories. When time was up, groans and giggles filled the room as we shared our stories.

A bag was passed around for part two of the exercise: rewrite our piece in the persona each person selected for themselves. Some of the choices were martyr, grouch, misanthrope, philosopher and pundit. Again giggles and groans were heard as we attempted to ‘speak’ in these new voices, then figure out which persona was which.

I ended up with ‘martyr’ and did more spluttering than speaking in this voice. Since the class received copies of the ‘persona in a bag’ list, I can continue to learn how to use this literary device in my writing.

Think up some personas of your own to work with. How about grouch, liar, tattletale, know-it-all? The list can be endless. The more personas you use, the stronger your character development. And the stronger your writing.

Try the above exercise for yourself.

And get your persona popping.

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Blogger Ang said...

Another great exercise! Can't wait to try it.

Thanks for posting,

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Thank you, Ang

I can't wait to work on the rest of the list myself.

Write on!

4:56 PM  
Blogger Maddie James said...

What a great exercise! I can see how this can help in a number of writing situations. Thanks for sharing.


2:38 AM  
Anonymous Jill said...

My pleasure, Maddie.

3:36 PM  

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