[Write On Wednesday] Your Character’s Voice

Today we’re going to play with making your characters sound distinctive.

Voiceover Microphone

The Prompt

Write A Story With Lots Of Dialogue That Teachers Us About Your Characters


We can tighten up a story and cut out a lot of words, by cutting out all the dialogue tags (“Mary said”, “Frank sighed.”)

Imagine two of your friends, who are from different places, or are different ages. If one of them was talking to you, would they use the same rhythms, the same length of sentences, the same analogies, as the other? Of course not.

You can differentiate your characters by allowing them to talk differently from each other.

You can clue the reader in to your character’s sudden change in mood, by changing the number and types of words they use in a sentence.

Is your character funny? Sardonic? Serious? Nervous? How could you portray that in language?

Can you use a secondary character who is very, very different, to play up those features in your protagonist? Can you do it solely in their dialogue?

If you can make your characters sound like real people (like your friends!) you will entertain your reader. And when you’re entertaining your reader you can get away with a lot. Have some exposition you need to drop in? The reader will keep reading for a lot longer as long as there is something in your story that they don’t want to put dow.

Create irresistible banter between your characters, or have a romantic hero who is just so smooooooth, and your readers will be unable to look away.

Practice giving your characters the words that illustrate their souls, today!

Further Reading

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

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