1. Roxy
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    Roxy New Member

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    Distinctive voices for characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Roxy, Mar 7, 2015.

    Hello, I am new here, I hope it's okay to jump on in. I caught something on Radio 4 yesterday that I thought was very interesting. Caroline Raphael, who is leaving her role as Commissioning Editor for Comedy, explained how she knew that Cabin Pressure was going to be such a great sitcom. She says "there's a trick you do, when you're script editing or you're looking at stuff, which is that you hide the names of the characters so you just read the lines, and if they have a voice that you can carry on hearing and can say "oh, that's that character", and you can hear the conversation without reading the name . . . that's always a good trick".
    I thought this could also be very sound advice for any kind of writer trying to make each character their own person.
    This is a link for the interview, although it won't stay on iPlayer for long. Caroline starts talking at about 14m10s,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0543yjh
     
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  2. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    You mean that people identify with the characters because of their spoken text, and not because the name they have? Does that mean that it's better to refrain form disclosing the names of the characters so that the audience have more space to do their own identification and interpretation because of what's in a name? There should be a point where you can refer to them by name, so I'm not sure how this so called trick is applicable in any situation besides the ones she referred to; reviewing snippets containing dialogue and monologue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  3. Roxy
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    Roxy New Member

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    No, she meant that when she is reading a good script she can cover up the names of the characters and still tell which character is speaking each line because each character is so distinctive in their style of talking. She was speaking as a commissioner, not as an author, but I realised that this could be a useful way for all of us to test whether we have given each of our characters their own voice. I'm wondering about collecting turns of phrase etc for each character to start to develop each one's voice, maybe overhearing someone in public and thinking "that's exactly what X would say" and jotting it down. Not to obscure their names from the readers but to create better dialogue and more rounded characters.
     
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  4. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    Right! This requires a distance of course; in my case to second guess my first impressions, the narrations.
     
  5. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    one character has a lisp
    another has a british accent
    another talks in nadsat
     
  6. Roxy
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    Roxy New Member

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    I wish I knew what 'nadsat' is
     
  7. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    I love this idea. I'm concerned my characters all sound too much like me and therefore all the same, so will definitely be trying this out to try to help me fine-tune their individual voices.
    Thanks, @Roxy

    Have you tried it? (And if so) How did you find it?
     
  8. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't actually tried covering up the names but it certainly helps when a characters has their own voice that stands out because of the speech patterns and attitudes - I do this in dialogue but I actually find they differentiate even more when I'm inside their heads writing tight third person. It's fun to switch from the jaded character to the moralistic character to the ADHD character in terms of how their brains work.
     

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