How To Make Characters Sound Different From One Another

By on April 24, 2020

We all know that every good story relies upon a cast of characters who are exciting, engaging, and relatable. Without this, no matter how good your idea may be, your book will be doomed to fail.

One of the essential parts of creating and developing your characters is making sure that they are unique. If there is no distinction between characters and they all seem to have the same morals, the same interests, a similar temperament, readers will find it hard to separate them, and it will also make your story seem a bit boring too!

So how can you make sure that your characters stand out from one another? 

There are many ways to do this. They can be physically different, come from opposite walks of life, behave very differently to one another, and so on. One of the easiest and most affecting ways to make characters stand out is to ensure the way they talk differently from one another. But how do you do this? Here are some ways to help ensure distinctive dialogue. 

Use different vocabulary

Think about the background of your characters and use that to inform you of the way that they would talk. A professor, for example, would use far more sophisticated language than say, a high school drop out. By considering the level of education your characters would have, and their interest in language, whether they care about going across as intellectual and their profession will help you choose words to suit their personas.

Vary sentence length

Some people talk in long and convoluted sentences. Others use words sparingly or are more abrupt conversationally. You can vary sentence length when crafting your dialogue to reveal more about your characters and make them distinctive from one another. 

Use metaphors, references, and phrases

Everyone has a distinct way of talking, and when you listen to people's speech, you notice the words and phrases they often repeat or their frame of reference. People also tend to use metaphors to express themselves, and these details will all help built up layers in your characters, making them not only more distinctive but also more lifelike and intuiting too. 

Experiment with accents

While using accents in novels is tricky, if you can do it well, it can be an easy way to make character's voices unique from one another. However, it is always best to use accents sparingly as they can sound clunky or overwhelm the reader and distract from the story if not executed well.

Consider the exchange pattern

The exchange pattern focuses more on how your characters deliver their words. Are they clear and precise in how they talk or vague and tend to yammer on. Do they trail off and lose their thoughts, or are they always very measured and thoughtful about what they say? 

Make thought processes distinctive

What your characters say should reflect how they think. If the reader is let in on the innermost thoughts of your characters, the way that they speak should reflect those feelings. If they think logically, they will probably speak more clearly. If they tend to drift in thought or are overwhelmed by their thoughts, they may stutter or get distracted more easily. 

Silence also speaks volumes!

Remember, it's not just the way your character speaks, but also the things that they don't say that can reveal more about them, so don't forget to use silence to evoke different emotions. Silence can be compelling after all. 

By using the above, you can ensure that your characters all sound unique, and this will add color and variety to your story and make your characters all the more interesting to read. Good luck!

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

About Ty Cohen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha loading...