Creating Distinctive Voices for Characters

You need to create distinctive voices for your characters. This is so important to good storytelling, and a lot of new writers gloss over it. A well-defined voice makes your characters feel more natural and relatable to your readers. Use it to reveal tidbits about their personality, background and emotional state.

Why Distinctive Voices Matter in Writing

Why Distinctive Voices Matter in Writing

Distinctive voices create unique characters and make them stand out in the reader’s mind. They help your people distinguish between your characters easily, even without the addition of dialogue tags. If you’ve got a scene with more than three people having a conversation, it should be clear who is speaking and when.

Tips for Creating Distinctive Voices in Your Characters

  1. Think about their background: A character’s upbringing, culture and education influence their speech just as it would in real life.
  2. Tap into their personality: Introverted characters might speak less often than extroverted ones, but they can usually deliver a punch with just a few words.
  3. Phrases or mannerisms: Characters can have signature phrases or specific ways of speaking that make them instantly recognizable.
  4. Pay attention to rhythm and pace: Some characters might speak in short, quick sentences, but others might be known for long, drawn-out speeches.
  5. Weave in some emotion: A character’s emotional state can greatly influence their dialogue. Someone angry might speak more harshly or abruptly than when they are calm.

Examples of Distinctive Voices in Popular Books and Films

  • Captain Jack Sparrow: We all know him by his flamboyant and somewhat eccentric manner of speaking. He often uses pirate slang and tends to ramble, adding to his unique, memorable voice.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark has a witty and sarcastic tone when he speaks. His dialogue is usually humorous and laced with clever comebacks. When you compare his lines to Captain America’s, you can pinpoint which is which.
  • Mary Poppins: The famous nanny is known for her proper and refined way of speaking. Her dialogue usually comprises complex words and phrases, showing her education and status.

Remember, the dialogue is not just the words your characters say. It’s a tool to reveal their personality and emotion.