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A couple weeks back, with our 5-Sentence Scary Story Contest, we indirectly explored the power of voice when it comes to writing. As a writer, “voice” is important. I use it all the time, whether it’s in writing my Pocket Guides — a particular voice or writing style I’ve developed — or freelance copywriting for businesses (in which I mimic the voice/style of the business or organization).
Let’s say a written piece is like a drawing in a coloring book. The actual words and sentences are the black lines. The “voice,” or tone of the piece provides the color. It’s what really brings the words and sentences to life. Voice involves things like rhythm, inflection, emphasis, vocabulary choice, alliteration, repetition. All that stuff, when combined, give personality to the mechanical sentence structure.
Ted Slater, the winner of the 5-Sentence Scary Story Contest, won because his submission generated a feeling of terror (or, at least, suspense) because of the “voice” of the writing.
I bring all this up just because I want to introduce a cool video clip that illustrates the power of voice. It’s a nursery rhyme. Here’s the familiar text:
The sheep’s in the meadow. The cow’s in the corn.
Where is the boy who looks after the sheep?
He’s under the haystack fast asleep.
Will you wake him? Oh, no, not I.
For if I do, he surely will cry.
Standard Mother Goose stuff. But what happens to these childish words when you add creepy inflection and rhythm (and, yes, some spooky music and lighting) to the recitation? What happens when you let Michael Emerson — Benjamin Linus of “Lost” — read the nursery rhyme?
This is what happens: It gets super-freaky. The power of voice. Behold…
That’s all. Just your basic Thursday dose of creepy awesomeness.