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If all your characters sound the same, something is very wrong. Real people don’t sound the same, not ever. Your characters’ words show where they come from, their culture, and attitudes. If you want to create an astounding character then you need to figure out where he/she is from and then have him show it in his speech and look.
Example: How does she refer to a middle-aged man? Man, guy, dude, sir, lord, hey you, etc.
Or a place? Yonder, over there, afar, down under, across the bay, a jump and a hop from here, etc.
Remember that gangs, teens, southerners, westerners, orientals, islanders, and usually all foreigners have their own unique way of speech. We all do and that is what characterizes us as special.
Can you tell from which walks of lives or places these people come by the way they talk?
- Your Majesty, it’s my honor to meet thee.
- Aye mate, G’t the anchor fast, landlubber, or we’ll all drown like rats.
- That dude is so cool. Totally far out.
- Nay, you knave, unhand me.
- The radar shows nothing, cap’n. Fish and corals are our only company.
- Beam me up Scotty!
- Aye Captain, but the reactors are ready to implode.
The individual’s culture also does much to make your character worth remembering. What do I mean by culture?
- Her colorful clothes made a big splash at the beach.
- I think it’s the dark skin and the way she moves her hips that attract everyone.
- It‘s time for my prayers. After that I’ll be free. Where is my skull cap? I can’t pray without it.
- Tortillas are the foundation of all our meals. We have them with hot salsa.
Another thing worth giving your character is a healthy dose of attitude. That is another excellent way to give depth to any character.
- Someone get this walking carpet out of my way, before I…
- Now, come, young sir, we don’t need to go that far now, do we?
- I’ll erase that smile with my fist if you don’t!
- The way she moves makes my mouth water.
- I want it done yesterday, captain!
- I’ll twist his puny neck with my own hands.
- My chow! Where is my chow, you good for nuttin’.
- Blast them all to kingdom come!
Take time to see how you want your characters to sound and look. It will surprise you to find that they have not only a voice but also a look of their own.
Now go, and happy writing to you.
Shared with us from Anna's blog.
Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.
After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).
Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."
You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.
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