Writing different sounding characters.

Published by architectus in the blog architectus's blog. Views: 135

This blog post is all about giving your characters difference voices, so they don't all sound like you. Nah I mean?

Study people's syntax. Study how people think.

An easy trick is to image a character like Andrew Dice Clay, and write the dialog to sound like him, or some other actor or character you know well.

So Andrew Dice Clay and Dracula pick up on a female.

"Hey, toots, what ya say we go out sometime. Just got my new ride, know what I mean?"

"If I could be so bold, hoping not to offend you, my Lady, would you accompany me to the show? My limo is waiting."


We have two extremes. Those that speak in fragments and those that speak in complete sentences. Of course, some people fall in the middle, but let's look at the extremes.

Fragments
Full sentences

Let’s look at two more extremes.

Hyper
Calm

Now mix those up.

Calm fragments
Calm full sentences
Hyper fragments
Calm full sentences

Other extremes you could add: Southern accent, European, street talk.

Here is a sample that sounds like the author.

"I think she's pissed off that we ignored her, at least I assume you two also ignored her as all three of us are getting the cold shoulder now."

Rewrite your example.

Hyper fragments

"Wow, she's pissed. Shouldn't have ignored her, huh? You two musta ignored her too. Yeah, why else give us the cold shoulder, yanno?"

Hyper full sentences

"Holy freaking cow turds, I think she's pissed off that we've ignored her. I mean, I assume you two also ignored her, right? You must have because she's giving all three of us the cold shoulder."

Calm fragments

"She seems angry. Shouldn't have ignored her." He sighed. "Assume you two also ignored her as she's blowing us all over now."

Calm full sentences

"I think she might be upset that we've ignored her. I shouldn't assume, but I'm sure you two also ignored her, considering she's giving us the silent treatment."

So think of different combinations and rewrite accordingly. I usually think in extremes first.

Intelligent or airhead.
Speaks casually or formally.
Hyper or calm.
Fragments, scatter thoughts, or more like full sentences.
Colloquialisms or not really

Maybe my character grew up poor and around thugs. She is a bookworm.


Speaks casually
Shy, so sort of calm, but can get hyper.
Clear thoughts, but uses fragments.
Colloquialisms
Forward

"She's angry, nah I mean? Maybe if we all didn't ignore her, she wouldn't be all distant right now. Don't eye me like that. You ignored her too."

Mess around with the different extremes and everything in between to come up with different voices for your characters.
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