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Character Voices--How they Can Differ from Each Other
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 10:51 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Lately, I've introduced a new character in Destiny's Bond--a male character named Arashi. He's the Hero of the story, and doesn't show up until a quarter ways into the book.

 

As I've been writing in his POV, I was fascinated to discover how much his Voice differs from Destiny's and my other female characters. When he's commandeering the show, the words flow a lot differently than they do when I'm writing in Destiny's POV. Or Arabella and Karissa's. My style changes for him, becoming more . . . modern, I suppose . . . as I get inside his head. I've found his natural Voice to be much different than my other characters'--He's proved to be a commanding presence with a personality that demands I write his scenes in ways I never would have imagined doing with Destiny. There's more internal reactions and musing, as well as shifts in moods and language, depending on his attitude, among other stylistic tweaks.

 

I'm not saying his Voice is better than Destiny's. Just that the two are obviously different--which is a good thing. Individual characters need to have unique Voices so they stand out, otherwise they aren't as believable.

 

Since my curiosity's peaking, I thought I'd ask this: Have you ever noticed any major differences between two of your own characters concerning individual Voices? How did your style change to accommodate the way they wished to come across on paper scene to scene?

 

Yes. I accommodate my characters. My style of writing alters depending on whose POV I'm assuming. Does that make me weird? Maybe. I don't rightly know.

 

Sate my curiosity by leaving a reply


Perry
Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 3:16 PM
Joined: 9/17/2013
Posts: 104


One of the interesting things about writing fiction is getting into the heads of each of the characters, and making decisions and taking action through them.  

 

The voices of the characters should be different. They are different people. We have to make them different. The threads about dialogue and "writing the other" (among others) have guidance about how to do this.

 

My short stories each have just a few characters, and the characters are different from one another, and respond to their environments in different ways. This helps make them real and make the stories real for the reader.

 

In my long story WIP, I have a lot of characters with speaking parts, too many maybe, but just five main characters. Three men and one woman are each locked in their personas, and no matter what happens, they each respond faithfully from their own core sets of beliefs. The second woman grows and evolves over the length of the story, she learns to think and act differently, and she's the most engaging of the characters. Maybe she's the star of the book. I don't know; I'm still writing.

 

If you think you are weird for tailoring your style to the POV of each character, then you are in good weird company. Good books I have read do just that.

 

 


Amber Wolfe
Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 4:47 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Yay! Another likeminded writer!

 

I sent you a connection request.


Rachel Anne Marks
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015 5:55 PM
Joined: 1/23/2012
Posts: 36


Hey Amber! You are definitely not alone! You're actually right on track. This is actually super important when you want to submit to editors and agents. They look for characters that feel real, which means they need to be unique. So, keep up the awesome work

--edited by Rachel Anne Marks on 4/26/2015, 5:57 PM--


Amber Wolfe
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015 6:22 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Thanks again for the kind words, Rachel

 

It's funny because I was just about to send you a Connection Request when I got a notification saying you'd sent me one instead. What a coincidence, right? It made me feel happy, which I desperately need right now--I'm not feeling well today. I've had an awful stomach ache and it hasn't gone away. Sleeping was impossible so I'm really tired.

 

Amber


Rachel Anne Marks
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015 3:12 PM
Joined: 1/23/2012
Posts: 36


Oh gosh, I'm so sorry, Amber *hugs* feel better!!
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015 6:14 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Thanks for the cyber hug, Rachel. I'm feeling more like myself today--I still have a small stomach ache, but it's dying down.

 

I'm thinking I had food poisoning. Is it possible to get food poisoning from a fountain pop? Anybody know?


Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2015 10:14 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Ugh, Amber, food poisoning is the worst. I hope you are feeling better!

 

Has anyone come up with any good organizational strategies for keeping track of what each character's voice should sound like? Or do you have to keep it all in your head?


Amber Wolfe
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2015 9:20 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Hi, Lucy.

 

Yeah, I'm feeling more like myself--the stomach ache petered out in about four days, so I'm good now.

 

To answer your question, I honestly do keep it in my head how my characters come across on paper. When I assume their personas, the words just seem to naturally flow from my fingertips to the computer screen--no hard thought required most of the time.

 

Now, I do have a list of Character Sheets concerning each of my main characters; Destiny, Karissa, and Arashi. Each sheet notes important physical traits, such as hair color and length, eye color, birthmarks, scars, etc, as well as background information, mannerisms, and other helpful stuff. I've found that, when I'm struggling with a character's reactions to a scene, going to the Character Sheet and reading through it helps me to ensconce myself in the character's head more firmly.

 

If anyone's interested in how to write a Character Sheet, I'd be happy to post one for use. Comment and I'll do so.

 

Amber


Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Friday, May 8, 2015 9:54 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


I'd love to hear more about how to write a character sheet! Sounds like an awesome strategy!
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2015 5:02 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Hi, Lucy. You asked, and so I deliver.

 

Character Sheets can be essential for keeping track of a character's important details--You don't want to mix up their eye color or their quirks with other characters, so having a Character Sheet to refer to from time to time while revising can be helpful. It can also make it easier for you to picture your character in your head while typing up their stories, even if you don't include the miniscule detail in the story itself.

 

Writing a Character Sheet can be a challenge for some people, so I'll post one here you can fill out in a word document (Note that you can tweak to suit your needs):

 

________'s Character Sheet

 

Physical Traits

 

Age:

 

Height:

 

Weight:

 

Ethnic Heritage:

 

Eye Color:

 

Eye Description:

 

Face:

 

Hair Color:

 

Hair Length:

 

Skin Type:

 

Birthmarks:

 

Scars:

 

Description of clothing:

 

 

Emotional and Family Life

 
Personality:

 

Sense of Humor:

 

Religious Faith:

 

Political Party:

 

Family:

 

Friends:

 

Enemies:

 

Worldly possessions:

 

Home life:

 

Happiest childhood memories:

 

Worst childhood memories:

 

The way _____ describes himself/herself:

 

The way _____'s friends would describe him/her:

 

 

Intellectual and Work Life

 
Educational background:

 

Employment:

 

Hobbies:

 

 

Personal Philosophy (and where it came from:

 

_____'s Values:

 

 

And that's a Character Sheet. Not too daunting, is it? All you have to do is fill it out. It surprised me how much information I had on Destiny and my other characters just waiting to spill out. It really gave me a boost when I started rewriting the entire novel.

 

Character Sheets might not be fore everyone, especially those who want their characters to reveal themselves while the story's being written.

 

If anyone has questions, I'll do my best to answer them, though I'm a newbie.

 

Amber


Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015 5:02 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


Amber--I love this! Thank you so much for sharing. I love seeing an example.

 

I might try and fill this out for my MCs this weekend. If not this weekend, then definitely the next!


Amber Wolfe
Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 6:59 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


You're welcome, Lucy. I'm glad to be of use

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2015 12:20 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359


@Amber--Using your character sheet right now. I love it!! Thank you so much for sharing!
Amber Wolfe
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2015 7:06 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539


Happy to be of service, Lucy
Vade Chather
Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 11:49 AM
Joined: 3/10/2014
Posts: 1


Very interesting thoughts and views. I have always given strong voice to characters, in the most suttle ways possible. One way this could be seen is, in a seen in "Bully's Lesson" where Billy is swinging sad faced, with head down, and feet dragging in the dirt.when all of a sudden, Cindy dashes pass shouting bet you can't catch me Billy. Noticing Billy's odd look turns to console with him.

This scene combines word with scene to accomplish desired voice and volce strength. I think.

 


Allen Curtis Meissner
Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2015 11:18 AM
Joined: 9/2/2014
Posts: 20


There is a story which I am writing from a new series I started called My Night Terrors . The first one I subtitled Cry of the She Wolf . The voice she expresses most would be the fact that after being attacked by a wolf in the town of Imperial , MO , she finds herself asking what is happening to her . She even feels her senses enhancing , the moon calling to her , and of course something I borrowed from An American Werewolf in London : Nightmares . With Cry of The She Wolf now published , I started work on a story which I subtitled I Vampire . It is told from the viewpoint of Korey Grimfall . He is over one thousand years old . I find his character is so filled with rage that he can not feel the cold that surrounds him !
 

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