Developing Character Voice

How do you define and develop your character’s voice?

Readers are able to connect to your character through voice. Voice identifies a character’s personality, strengths and weaknesses. It allows the reader to observe how characters engage and interact with the setting and surroundings they are in.

In order to develop your character’s voice, you first need to create his/ her identity. Some writers find it helpful to draft a Character ARC

The physical, emotional and mental makeup of the character, along with cultural background and past experiences, will define your character’s narrative, thoughts and actions as penned in your story.

A character’s voice is expressed both externally(dialogue) and internally(thoughts). When it comes to ‘voice’, one may think mainly of external expressions or narrative, but internal expressions such as thoughts, fears, regrets or hopes, are just as important when developing character voice. Such internal expressions usually, at some point, give voice to external narrative in the form of dialogue or actions.

As your story progresses, you can shape and mold your character’s voice by introducing conflict, life experiences, new relationships etc. This of course will impact your character’s growth or decline at the end of your story, giving your character a voice that is not entirely different, but adapted.

Summary points:

– personality traits define voice

– voice can be both external and internal

– voice is shaped by cultural background, past experiences, new relationships

– internal voice is important as it can influence external narrative

– allow your character to grow and adapt through changing circumstances and experiences on your WIP

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