Ahhhhh, voice. We love it in the books we read, right? But sometimes it can be hard to pin down in our own works.
How do you find your character's voice, their crazy, funny voice that will make your readers chuckle?
It's pretty easy once you get to know them. But how do you do that? How do you get inside their head and really understand them? And then how do you get that down on paper?
Here are some ideas...
Think about how your character talks. Does he have a catch phrase? Does she pause a lot? Fiddle with something when he's nervous? Does she ramble? Or does he think long and hard before giving short and concise responses? Does she use big words to confuse those around her? Does he talk like a tall blonde surfer dude and carry a surfboard with him wherever he goes even though he lives on a cattle ranch in Texas?
Pretend to be a reporter and interview your character. Maybe you're an annoying reporter that's trying to make your character look bad, like that chickadee in Harry Potter. Or maybe you're a kind reporter, out to seek the completel truth and help your character.
Either way, think of questions to ask your character that would give you insight into who they truly are.
#3: Make a playlist
This isn't something I've tried, but it does sound interesting. Find songs your character would choose to put on their playlist. Would they want to listen to the Beatles or Metallica? One Direction or the Grateful Dead? Or maybe they're more of a Barry Manilow fan. The kind of music your character would pick could give you great insight into who they are.
#4: Write a letter
Have your character write a letter to someone....their mom, best friend or maybe even their Kindergarten teacher. What would your character say?
I guess if you're writing a story where your character is in huge trouble, like she's stuck in a haunted house or something and she can only write her Kindergarten teacher a letter, it would be pretty short...
Dear Mrs. Ginger,
Have your character journal key moments in their life. An embarressing episode, the time they were the most afraid or felt the most alone, something funny that happened to them when they were a kid, a time when they got in loads of trouble, etc.
On the flip side, you could journal a boring day for them, too. What's their regular, bland, nothing-exciting-going-on day like?
#6: Tell a Story
Write a scene where your character tells his best friend a story. What does he share? Something funny? Or sad?
#7: Pick an Animal
Skunk? Cheetah? Or wildebeest?
If your character were an animal, which one would she be? Imagine the traits associated with this animal and rewrite a scene keeping these traits in mind.
Hmmmm...now I'm wondering...what kind of traits does a wildebeest have?
Write your character's thoughts as he goes about everday tasks like, brushing his teeth, combing his hair and walking to school or his job. What does he think kabout? What does he focus on? Or obsess and worry about?
Here's a fun idea. Think of or find a situation from a sitcom, some moment of trouble, and replace the characters with yours. How would your characters react? What would they do differently?
#10: First Words
Ok, so for this exercise you need to think of a grand and amazing experience or destination. It could be a trip to Paris or the Grand Canyon. It could be riding in a space shuttle to the moon. And...depending on your character...it could be visiting a grocery store in the 20th century!
Whatever it is, take your characters and imagine what their first words would be at the start of this experience. What do they notice? What excites them? Where do they go first? They should each have a different response.
Can you think of any other ways to discover your character's voice?