This is two days late. I would offer explanation, but at the moment, I just don’t want to talk about my deviant sewing machine and the many ways it has ruined my life this week.
I’m back with my series on character development, and this time, we’re talking about voice.
I struggle with voice. My novel started out being written, not only in the first person, but from multiple points of view. The problem with it was that I couldn’t get the voices right. It’s now third person omniscient, but voice still becomes an issue when you are dealing with dialogue and thoughts and reactions.
When I write a character, I have to know things about them. Where are they from? What is their profession? What was their childhood like? How educated are they? Even if the audience never knows these things, it’s important for me to know them, because it shapes the character’s voice.
An uneducated, backwoods drunk wouldn’t say “loquacious” and a highly educated socialite would never say she has a “hankerin'” for anything. They just wouldn’t. It doesn’t fit with what is expected of them.
It is so important for voice to match a character. You want this person to jump off the page at your reader, and seamless voice is one of the things needed to accomplish that.
This does not mean that characters must be predictable and boring. A character who is uneducated may also be a deep thinker. So perhaps big words are not his jam, but the occasional profound thought, spoken with the right amount of colloquialisms, is. In that same way, a character that is highly logical and calm may have one superstition that makes an appearance every now and again and throws him into a tizzy. These things are alright, so long as their existence is established and not simply thrown at the reader once and then never spoken of again.
So find your character a voice. Fit it with his personality. Keep him consistent. But not boring.