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Create Distinct Voices for Your Characters

Your characters are unique! They each have a place in the world you created and have various experiences that influence their actions. Their experiences also influence their speech. Creating distinct voices adds depth to your characters and makes them more believable.

I’ve got 5 top tips for creating distinct voices.

  1. Understand your characters

  2. Use speech patterns

  3. Vary sentence structure and length

  4. Try idioms and expressions

  5. Add body language

Understand your characters

Before you can write distinct voices, you need to have a deep understanding of your characters. Spend time developing their backgrounds, personalities, values, and motivations. Consider their age, upbringing, education, social status, and any unique traits or experiences that shape who they are.

The more you know about your characters, the easier it will be to give them distinct voices.

Speech patterns

Listen to how your character speaks. Do they use formal or informal language? Are they eloquent or blunt? Do they have any quirks, catchphrases, or speech patterns?

For example, one character may use sophisticated vocabulary, while another may use colloquialisms often.

Sentence structure and length

The way characters structure their sentences can also differentiate their voices.

Some may use long, complex sentences, while others prefer shorter, simpler ones. Vary the length and structure of sentences to match each character's style of expression and personality.

It may take some time, but there will be a rhythm and flow to their dialogue that emerges.

Idioms and expressions

Idioms and expressions specific to a character's background or culture can add depth and authenticity to their voice. Consider incorporating regional sayings, cultural references, or industry-specific jargon that aligns with the character's background or profession. This helps to make their dialogue feel more genuine and distinct.

Body language

Instead of stating how a character speaks, show it through their actions and interactions with others.

Use body language, gestures, and non-verbal cues to reveal aspects of their personality and attitudes.

For example, a confident character who speaks with a strong and authoritative tone may wave their arms around or pound a podium, while a shy character may avoid eye contact or shrink back when speaking.

The key to writing distinct voices lies in practice and experimentation. As you immerse yourself in your characters and refine your writing skills, you’ll discover your favorite techniques for creating your characters’ unique and engaging voices.

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