“Give Each Character a Distinctive Voice” by Joan Y. Edwards
It is so much fun to watch movies and read novels and children’s books where you can tell who is talking the moment the words of dialogue spill out on the page!
Does he talk fast most of the time which makes you miss some important information?
Does she talk so slow you forget what she said to in the beginning?
Is his voice low pitched like a bass?
Is her voice high-pitched and grate on your nerves?
Is he always late?
Is she always early?
Is he agile and talented like an Olympic champion?
Is she afraid of being clumsy in front of others?
Is he prejudiced but can’t see it in himself?
Is she fearful in areas where she is a minority?
Does bad luck follow him around?
Is she always in a crisis mode?
It is important for readers to be able to know without a doubt who is talking or who is doing a certain action because it helps them have a running video in their mind of what is going on and perhaps figuring out why and wondering what is going to happen next.
What readers know about characters keeps them involved in your story.
The more you know about your characters and their history before the moment they step into your story, it will help you make your story more believable and give your characters traits that pull readers to them. These little quirks will make your readers want to find out what happens to them. They will see themselves in this situation and wonder what they would do. They want to see if the characters do the same thing they would do. They will want to find out if the clumsy character can get through the crisis without falling down this one time.
Think about your favorite character. What are 3 adjectives to describe them. What makes them different from the other characters in your story? What will cause them problems getting along because they are so different?
One of my favorite characters is Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny a screenplay by Dale Launer. She is intelligent, always wants to help Vinny, and although she doesn’t look like it or act like it, she is an expert in all things about cars. This fact ends up helping Vinny save his cousin and his friend from being convicted of murder.
Another favorite character is Juror 8 played by Henry Fonda in “12 Angry Men,” adapted from a teleplay by Reginald Rose. He was the only juror who believed the teenage boy was innocent at the beginning. He convinced the eleven other men on the jury to change their minds. There were a few who would rather say the boy was guilty so they could get out of there in a hurry.
My third favorite character is Ichabod Crane from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. He is so thin and his horse isn’t much heavier. He is scared of his own shadow and believes anything and everything others tell him. Which makes it so funny when he gets frightened because no one will ever venture where these men were murdered and their heads severed from their bodies. I like Walt Disney’s cartoon version better than the version better than the 1999 Version with Johnny Depp. Both are great productions, however, the cartoon version brings out the humor better for me.
Please leave a comment telling me your favorite character and three adjectives or sentences to describe him or her along with the name of the book or movie in which we will find them.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2021 Joan Y. Edwards
1, “7 Effective Ways to Give Your Characters Unique Voices:” https://screencraft.org/2017/10/25/effective-ways-to-give-your-characters-unique-voices/
2. “Character Trait Descriptive Adjectives:” https://lesn.appstate.edu/fryeem/RE4030/character_trait_descriptive_adje.htm
3. “How to Define Your Character’s Unique Voice:” https://www.well-storied.com/blog/how-to-define-your-characters-unique-voice
4. “How to Write Dialogue:”
5. “How to Write Natural Dialogue in 11 Steps:” https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/how-to-write-dialogue/
6. Karen Woodward. “How to Create Distinct Characters:” https://blog.karenwoodward.org/2013/12/how-to-create-distinct-characters.html
7. Reedsy.com. “Character Questionnaire:” https://blog.reedsy.com/character-questionnaire/
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