LESSON Personal Voice

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Minibit, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. "That doesn't sound like something I would say"
    A personal voice is more than the subjects a person chooses to talk about; your personal voice takes into account your accent, any slang you might use, and your basic vocabulary prefrences

    Does your character say Schedule like 'Shed-yool' or 'Sked-yool'?

    Do they use simple, concrete words, or pad their language with ten-syllable tongue twisters?

    Do they use a lot of filler words like 'like' or 'just'?

    When something is cool, would they say it's 'cool'? or would they say it's 'brilliant'? 'neat'? 'awesome'? 'epic'?

    Would they say someone is surprised and confused, or that they were flabbergasted?

    Would they say 'you're welcome'? 'no problem'? 'My pleasure'? 'Don't worry about it'? 'It was nothing'?

    If they stub their toe, would they curse up a storm, say 'ouch!' or bite their lip and hop around holding their toe whilst making pained grunting sounds?

    In drawing, it is said that your character should be recognizable through a haircut and a wardrobe change, and a similar concept is true of voice! If a scene between two characters were written entirely in dialogue, and your characters have well established voices, a reader should be able to tell who is talking.

    Body language and other factors come into play here, but we're focusing on voice!

    Below are a list of sentences and scenarios; using only dialogue (ie: not describing their actions or environment), write a response, and do your best to create a personal voice for your character. Context is established in parentheses, the dialogue and/or action your character responds to is underlined.

    (your character has performed a small favour for a stranger such as opening a door)
    "Thank you!"

    "Nasty weather today, isn't it?"

    your character orders a burger, fries, and coke from a drive through, or bread and mead from a tavern, whatever is setting-appropriate

    (in conversation with an intimate friend)
    "Hey there! How've you been?"

    (seen at the end of a rotten day)
    "Are you okay?"

    Write a conversation (again using only dialogue) without mentioning names between them and another character; I'll read it and see if I can discern your character's voice!​
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  2. 1. "My pleasure."
    "You're such a dearie."
    "Not at all. Pleasant day."

    2. "I've not enough time for simple chatter today."
    "Don't be that way."
    "I have told you countless times now that discussing the weather is absolutely dull. ..... No, do not give me that look. You will not dissuade me from this trip."

    3. "Your most superior ale for my droll companions. Keep them lubricated and there may be a bit of silver at the end for you."
    "No, thank you. I will return shortly after I see to my mounts."
    "Got'sa horse lad alr'idy."
    "No doubt a fine one, at that, but I see to my own mounts. Thank you."

    4. "Dreadful. The children are all off to their summer fostering. Gods, I feel quite useless now."
    "Your lord husband?"
    "Thank the gods, there, he is off to some rebellion that needs tending to in the north. Pray he gets snowed there with a late storm."

    5. "I fear my heart will not recover from this wound. Perhaps my soul has lost too many pieces this time, too many fine chips have splintered off. Is this my fate, then, you think? To face this impending, rushing doom alone and already half broken? Do I have strength enough to rise from the ashes?"
    "Of course."
    "No, I'd d'ruther blow away with the howling winds. This ache is too much."