How to Develop the Voice of Your Character: 12 Questions

How to Develop the Voice of Your Character: 12 Questions

It’s important to develop the voice of your character(s) because it will make them more alive and realistic. By voice, I mean the way he speaks and thinks. In this post, I have therefore compiled a list of questions to help you develop the voice of your character.  

 

How to Develop the Voice of Your Character

You can use these questions on all your characters, but I would advise you to focus on those that have the most important roles—point-of-view characters, protagonists, main characters, perhaps even sidekicks.

Answer the following questions for one character at a time. Try to be as detailed as possible with your answers. If you get stuck with some of the questions it might be that you don’t know your character well enough. If so, you can check out this post on character interviews and then come back to this list of questions.

Here is the list of questions on how to develop the voice of your character:

  • How does your character, generally, look at the world (example: from a cynical point-of-view, a dark view, a naive view, etc.)?
  • Does your character use short or long sentences? Does he use short or long words? Why?
  • How formal is your character? Where does this formality come from (example: an education or a job)? Is this formality consistent, or does she break it when she is upset/surprised/elated, etc.?
  • What formal and informal education has your character had, and how has it affected his language?
  • Does your character have any specific culturally based vocabulary (example: the same dish of food may have different names in different regions)? Does she use this particular vocabulary in speech or not? If not, does she want to hide where she comes from?
  • Does your character emphasize words to prove his point?
  • Does your character use humor? What kind of humor (example: dark, cynical, sarcastic, etc.)? In what circumstances does your character use his humor?
  • How witty is your character (meaning: how fast is she with comebacks and retorts)? What kind of impact does your character’s wittiness have?
  • Does your character have any verbal tics he uses consistently?
  • Does your character use any specific sayings or mottos or idioms?
  • Does your character use any specific colloquialisms?
  • Does your character use curses and profanities?
  • Are there any areas of knowledge that will be in your story which your character has no words for or does not understand technical terms for (example: hunting, video games, sewing, etc.)?

After having answered these questions, you will have a better understanding of your character’s voice.

I hope you have found this blog post helpful.

Have you used the questions above? If so, did you find them useful? Please do share in the comments below.

 
How to Develop the Voice of Your Character: 12 Questions
How to Develop the Voice of Your Character: 12 Questions