On Writing Well - Study Guide Part II: Chapter 8 Unity Summary & Analysis

William Zinsser
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Unity in writing is a quality where the writer maintains consistency throughout the piece. The point of view should be chosen before the writing begins, as in the first (I do something), third (he does something) and sometimes second person (you do something). Consistency in verb tense is also very important in order that the reader does not become lost in the timing of events. A more difficult unity is that of mood or voice. This is how the piece sounds to the reader in the imagination's inner ear. Sounding like a college professor is a formal voice, whereas sounding like an everyday person is an informal voice. The point the author makes is that the voice should not shift from one to another. He gives an example of travel writing that shifts all over the voice map.

A common problem...

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