Sunday, July 01, 2018

Writing Prompt: The Skill Builder: I Know That Voice

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt focuses on an exercise designed to work on a particular skill or technique, such as a POV exercise or character builder. Today’s skill:

Developing Character Voices

Characters who all sound the same make for boring, flat, and even confusing novels, but when readers can tell who’s speaking just by their dialogue—you’ve got gold.

Pick a scene from your current manuscript with at least two characters talking. Copy it into a new file, and re-write it, changing the voices of the characters to reflect a different backstory or personality (it doesn’t matter what the truth is, this is just for fun). Think about how their voice and actions would change based on a new personality or background.

Choose from the following list:

A character who…
  • Doesn’t trust anyone
  • Overly shares
  • Is timid and uncertain
  • Was raised by a con man (or con woman)
  • Is a “terrible” flirt (good or bad)
  • Has little to no education
  • Has way too much education
  • Is from a different country or land
  • Is from the wrong part of town
  • Is from the ritzy part of town
  • Has a criminal background
  • Has a military background
If you need a little refresher on voice, try these articles.

1 comment:

  1. The Urban Blabbermouth7/02/2018 6:40 AM

    The sisters shared bodies -- one awake, one comatose - a gift from the mid-wife witch who separated the conjoined twins. The sisters spoke with each other through through touching.

    Jenna-Day reached over and poked her comatose sister's forehead with her finger, “Wake up, we have a problem.”

    “What has happened?” asked Jenna-Night.

    “First, let’s switch.”

    The sisters exchanged bodies through their touch.

    Jenna-Night moved her finger from the forehead and held the comatose body's hand. "What is it?" she asked.

    “We are pregnant,” said Jenna-Day. “I felt sick this morning after our exchange.”

    Jenna-Night looked away, “I am sorry, sister. I was careless.”

    “You stupid slut. We have an agreement; no sharing loves and no pregnancies.”

    “I am sorry sister. Jacques makes me feel so… well, you know.”

    “I don’t care. I really, really want to slap you, hard, a hundred times.”

    “I am so sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?” asked Jenna-Night.

    “I am having a baby I do not want from a man I don’t love. How can that be made up?” declared Jenna-Day. "Now we are forced to marry to legitimize the child.”

    Jenna-Night said nothing.

    “You are getting everything you want," continued Jenna-Day. "What do I get? Morning sickness!"

    "I am sorry," said Jenna-Night.

    "I should end this pregnancy,” said Jenna-Day.

    NO!" gasped Jenna-Night. “No! You can’t hurt our baby for my mistakes. Promise me you won’t,” she pleaded.

    “Go away. I don’t want to talk to you anymore,” said Jenna-Day.

    "Please, please, don't hurt our baby," begged Jenna-Night.

    "Go away!"

    Jenna-Night withdrew her hand. Jenna-Night leaned in, kissing her comatose sister's forehead and heard, “you better behave yourself from now on. We have a baby to care for. And don’t think this means you’re forgiven.”