In Module Seven of the Write for a Reason course we look at writing dialogue. One important element of creating good dialogue is to make sure that each of your characters has his or her own voice. Just for fun, in the Write for a Reason course, one of the optional assignments is to tell a group of people some astonishing news (e.g. that you have bought a new car or are going on holiday to the Seychelles) and see their different reactions.
It is fascinating!
In just the same way as people respond differently to the same news, so you need each of the characters in your novel to have their own voice. There’s nothing worse than reading dialogue where all the characters sound the same, use the same tone, have the same reactions.
So, make sure you get to know your characters really well as individuals before you let them loose on your readers! Study how they think, how they feel, how they express themselves. Remember, too, that characters will respond differently depending on:
- Their relationship with other characters present. For example, a teenager might express himself different way to his mother and his friends. 🙂
- Their dominant characteristics. Angry people will be angry, jealous people jealous, kind people will be kind . . .
- How open they feel they can be. Do they trust the other people present?
- Their interests. If talking about a favourite hobby, even the quietest person can become animated.
Here’s an exercise you might like to try:
Write a dialogue between a lad from a privileged background and a working class boy on a train about a mutual hobby. This will help you to remember when you are writing your novel, to give all your characters a distinctive voice!
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