Character voice is a hard topic to master and practice. A lot of it comes down to a couple of things. One being most writers can’t seem to tell if their characters sound different. And the other is how writers see dialogue.
Characters fill our stories, and many writing instructors or teachers will say that characters are what drive a story and what brings readers in.
Tension is the sense that something is about to happen, whether that be good or bad. We often think bad or negative when we think about tension. But we don’t have to. We can use tension in our fiction to build joy between friends solidifying or even mending a friendship. Using tension, we can keep our readers in our stories, wondering what happens next.
While themes and thematic statements crop up throughout our stories, we can consciously weave them into our work to drive the desired effects in our readers. Once we make the choice of what themes and what thematic statement we want to write with, we can start layering them into our works, enhancing both our stories and our themes.
Nondialogue voice or your character’s inner voice is usually done in a way that aligns with how the character speaks with the rest of the characters in the story. But sometimes an author wants to show that a character has extra depth or perhaps isn’t who they appear to be to the reader or other characters in the story.
Using character voice as exposition may seem like a simple technique, but more often than not, writers do this in a heavy-handed way. This leaves their dialogue stilted, dry, and an obvious story function that drains their prose. Blending story exposition and important story information allow you as the writer to keep your story engaging while feeding your reader what they need to know to stay grounded in your story and characters.
Once you’ve found your character’s voice, how do you deepen it to make it memorable and engaging? This is the second biggest hurdle a lot of writers face. They’ve found that cool voice and they’re like ‘Great! I’m done.’ But going the extra step to develop, deepen, and shape that voice around your story can create an even richer voice and engaging dialogue throughout your story.
While there are tons of ways of discovering your characters’ voices, the basic idea behind all of them comes down to one thing: figuring out how your characters speak in a variety of situations related to who they are, where they’re from, and who they are speaking to. Think about it. Do you talk the same to every one you speak to? What about characters in your favorite books? Do their voices stay static throughout the whole story?
When we’re writing our stories, we make deliberate decisions related to not just the big story event elements but the smaller aspects story like characterization. How do we want our readers to see or know our characters?
The interior world of characters or their interiority is an important part of characterization. It gives the reader insight into who the character is when no one but the author is looking.