1. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Finding A Character's Voice

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rumpole40k, May 4, 2008.

    Hi everyone,

    Well I'm sitting down and writing one of my first pieces of fiction (I'm more of a technical writer). The story is planned out, the characters designed, but as I look over my work I'm finding their dialogue flat. So here's my question - how do you find/develop a character's personal style of talking?

    Thanks

    Rumpole
     
  2. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    I talk with them, myself. My brain is a constant stream of dialog between me and people who aren't real. That might be a little strange, but it works.

    Also listen to real people talk, and see how people speak on forums. Forum-speech is acutally closer to dialog than real speach, because on forums (fora?) we are more to the point, and don't often do 'um...' or 'er...' or other awkward timekillers.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you need to know their background, first of all... what's their social level?... where do they live?... where do they come from?... what kind of education have they had?...

    the trick to writing good dialog is to not try to write characters you've never heard speak in real life... if you've never spent significant time in appalachia, for instance, don't try to replicate 'hill country' folks' speech... same goes for brooklyn or french canadian speech patterns and so on...

    though each of your characters should have his/her own particular 'voice' unless you have a very good reason for doing so, don't make them so different that the readers are jerked to a stop when one speaker gives way to another, and they can't just breeze through the dialog effortlessly...
     
  4. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    I've tried learning character's pasts to figure out how to write them, but I either can't get into their past or I get too distracted by it. Granted, I write fantasy mostly, so dialog patterns are different in there.
     
  5. Smithy
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    Smithy Senior Member

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    I don't see why they have to be. I write fantasy, and all my characters speak in sort of British accents of one sort or another. So I hear the main character speaking in a sort of midlands/Shropshire accent the aristocrats speak in Recieved Pronunciation, the man who used be an aristo but has spent ten years in the wilderness uses Estuary English, while the hardnosed soldier from the north has a Yorkshire burr. Mind you I never say this, I just imagine it.
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Thanks. You've given me a lot to mull over.
     
  7. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it comes from "knowing " your characters.

    Try interviewing them...ask them personal questions, listen to their response.
    This helps me...the more you get into their heads, the better the dialogue flows and comes to life.
     
  8. FinalConflict
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    That all depends on the characters personality, if the character is more serious, he should speak rather calmly, and if a character is more random or funny, then he'll speak in a jokingly manner some or most of the time

    lol Me too xD
     
  9. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    Do you ever get into fights? I seriously had to put us all in seperate 'mental' rooms for a bit because I was in such a bad mood I was even snapping at myself.

    Come to think of it, though, scripting a fight between myself and my characters is very similar to scripting a fight among the characters. Maybe that's why it works?
     
  10. FinalConflict
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    lol, Not a lot but sometimes yeah xD. What I normally do is a play out a scene in my head before writing it so I can see how it'll go down. That works pretty well.
     
  11. UnknowingWriter
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    UnknowingWriter Member

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    I actually normall just sit and think read some good books and talk it out to myself, thinking, "Would they really say that?"

    Sometimes, I get some awesome dialog, but normally it can take me like a month to think up what a character is going to say and do.
     
  12. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I hear my characters talking in my head as I write. I take this for granted, so maybe not everybody does this? I don't so much "give" them voices as just write down the voices they already have.

    It might help to just sit and hold mental conversations as if the characters are in your own head. Talk out loud, if it helps. Or use a tape recorder? Perhaps different "voices" for characters and their dialogue can evolve then.
     

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