PEOPLE-WATCHING HELPS WITH DIALOGUE
So many times it’s hard to get the voice of the character you’re creating. You may have her backstory memorized. You may have her eye color pegged, and you even know what kind of orange juice she likes (not like there’s much difference in brands. Some may argue.) But getting her voice is that chore of chores that doesn’t seem possible to complete.
What’s the solution? People-watch. Listen to the people around you, and soon you will hear the variations of voices. Listen to their pauses, and the words that don’t matter to them as they yawn through a particular part of their sentence. Listen to their fluctuations. Hear people’s tones that interest you, and concentrate on the ones that annoy you. And yes, there are some annoying tones out there. Like the whining tone which I hate. But, your characters will have a voice if you give them one. And get this, you may never hear it audibly. But hearing her voice in your head will help to frame her dialogue more effectively.
Here’s an example.
“Go two miles down the road, and you’ll see it.”
That’s a line without a voice. And it works, but it’s missing something. It’s missing the voice and the tone of the person who’s saying it. So here, we go. More examples.
“Go two miles down the road, and you’ll see it,” she said in a raspy voice, and her breath smelled like stale cigarettes.
Now we’ve added a disgusting factor to it. We can actually hear a scatchy tone.
“Go two miles down the road, and you’ll see it,” she said, but her words were almost too soft to hear.
“Go two miles down the road, and you’ll see it,” he said with an attitude.
“Go two miles down the road, and you’ll see it.” Her English accent was distracting to him.
“Go two miles down the road, and you’ll see it,” he said, but he sounded uncertain, and I wasn’t willing to trust him.
See it? Each voice is different, and depending on what you want to be down the road, that should dictate that particular character’s voice. Now if it’s your main character.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope that you’ll be back next week!