Archive for August 31st, 2011

Aug 31 2011

Writing Distinct Character Voices

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

In real life, everyone talks in different ways. Their tone, timbre, rhythm and vocabulary are often influenced by region, race, class, profession, and so on. If your hobos sound like your professors, that’s usually a problem.  Giving all the characters in a story a similar voice is usually unrealistic and uncanny.

 

Some writers have problems with giving their characters distinct voices. By keeping several factors in mind, character voices can be diversified.

 

Word Choice

What is the character’s vocabulary like? It’d probably feel out of place for a hobo to start spouting words like “erudite” or “superfluous,” or for a professor to say “gigolo” or for a politician to say “sorry.”  This varies by situation (see below), but generally characters should use terms more believable for their level of education, intelligence and/or lack of any discernible moral code.

 

How does the character use those words?  Do they talk in full, long sentences, or in fragments? Do they use contractions, curse words, or made up words? Dialogue doesn’t have to be as perfect as the narrative text. On the other hand, if they go all the way towards following grammar rules that most people don’t even know about, they might establish themselves as pedantic/snobby.

 

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Aug 31 2011

Audience Survey

I was in a discussion earlier today about writing websites and their audiences. If you haven’t already done so, could you do me a favor and fill out an audience survey? It has seven six questions, all of which could fairly be described as hilarious and exciting*.

 

*If you’re sufficiently inebriated.

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