How To Create Character Voices

Besides having your own writer’s voice, you must create characters with their own voices.  This is very essential if you write in first person point of view.  To create character voices, you must truly understand the people in your story.  A great blog to read about different personality traits and its effect on people is http://dehypnotize.wordpress.com .

Sometimes a psychological trait has a lot to do with a character’s voice.

  • Professions have a way of sneaking into our lives.  To deal with that, you can describe your characters in their terms, with their professional jargon.  Try to get into that mindset and play with it.
  • If you’re writing a children’s book, you can try to write in a kid’s voice.  Every child has his own grammar, so you’d have some leeway.  You could use superlatives like bestest, mostest.  Use double comparatives–differenter, more better.  Some kids use past tenses like I swimmed, bringed, broughted.  Besides thinking of grammar, it is also good to think in a child’s logic as well.  For instance, kids may misunderstand or be curious about something that an adult wouldn’t pay attention to.
  • Maybe a character has a speech disorder, ADD, or paranoid schizophrenia.  The pattern of thoughts creates this effect instead of a choice of words.  If your character has ADD, you could jump from one topic to another midsentence repeatedly.  If your character has paranoid schizophrenia, you could make her intrepret everything as a conspiracy.  If you want to write gibberish, it wouldn’t be a good read, so you should keep it brief and move on.
  • If you have an elderly character, you could use a wisdom, storyteller’s way of speaking.  Instead of making it predictable, have fun with it and use an idiosyncratic approach.

Sometimes voice comes from an emotion, such as anger, depression, love, hate, fear, etc.

  • If angry, your character could become loud and impulsive; if depressed, quiet and philosophical.
  • Emotions give you a way to think and express your thoughts.  The stronger the emotion, the more energy you could develop in your stories.

Voice depends on attitude as well.  Different attitudes are naive, charming, excited, humble, cool, etc.  It will help you understand your character’s point of view, which depends on where and how your character perceives events.  It will also help you understand how your characters relate to their surroundings.

Whatever you do, make sure to read your work aloud.  Make sure you transformed the words on the page how your character would speak instead of how you would speak.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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How To Obtain Your Writer’s Voice

In order to create your writer’s voice, write.  It’s that simple.  Once you complete something, read it aloud.  Your physical voice will tell you where your writing voice sounds false.  It’s indicated by a stutter or a pause.  Whenever this happens, pay attention to those words or phrases; you may want to delete or revise them.  Reading aloud also helps you pace your writing.  You’ll feel where your passages are too slow or too quick.

Trust yourself.

If you love to speak more than write, you can use a tape recorder; next, jot everything down later.  Even though I don’t use a tape recorder, I whisper to myself when I write, especially with character’s dialogue.  I imitate their voices to see if it sounds like a natural conversation before jotting it down.

So, the next time you see someone chatting or whispering to themselves, don’t automatically think he or she is crazy, weird.  It’s probably just a writer trying to perfect his or her craft.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby