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Staying True To Your Character's Voice

The key to nailing your character's voice has a lot to do with consistency. It's like meeting a new friend. At first, you don't know them well enough to judge if something seems out of character, but over time you do. The same applies for characters. The best way to create solid characters with consistent voice is to step into their shoes for each and every scene. Always be aware of how they interact with the outside world.

How your character views their surroundings can be very revealing. A paragraph of beautiful prose describing the leafy trees and a smooth glassy lake might not work best for a character with a sour or sarcastic disposition. Really think about how they see the world and apply it to everything from a classroom to a castle (if they're going inside a castle, of course).

From what they choose for lunch to how they react in a crisis, the depth and length that they debate choices can do a lot to help show a character's voice. Always stay true to your character when plotting. A stubborn character's will can't bend suddenly because you need to get from A to B on your outline. Choices can show character growth (or decline) but can't come from left field.

When your character first walks into a room, what's the first thing they notice? The atmosphere? The other people? The colors of the floor tiles, for the more shy and reserved?

Knowing how your character's mind works and really stepping into their shoes for each and every scene helps create solid and believable characters.
Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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  1. Love this! It's true--consistency is key, and that's surprisingly hard to accomplish.

  2. This is VERY hard it's even harder not to put yourself, author intrusion, into the story.

    Excellent points.

  3. Great post. Very useful. Thanks! - Stasia

  4. Absolutely! This is exactly why I always love Cynthia Voight's Tillerman Family series - still some of the best characterization I've seen!


  5. Great post! I'm really good with character voice in setting and observations, but sometimes my characters make decisions that don't mesh with their personalities at all! My beta-reader is always making fun of me. It's something I definitely need to work on.

  6. Yes - consistency is the key, but it can be tough. For me, as long as I write every single day, it makes it a lot easier to stay "in character voice." But even then, depending on the voice, it can be a challenge.


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Item Reviewed: Staying True To Your Character's Voice Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah