Monday, July 18, 2011

Writing Tips for Keeping Voice Consistent

Over the past couple of weeks, I've returned to one of my earlier novels to work on bringing out the narrator's voice. One of the biggest challenges I'm finding is keeping it consistent. Sure, there are times when it all flows naturally, but then I read other parts and know they aren't quite there yet.

Some tips that help me create a consistent character voice:

1. Re-read previous sections. By reading over a section of the story where you feel confident you've captured the voice you want, it helps you get the right "sound" for the character's voice into your mind.

2. Think about internal ways your character reacts. Like people, characters have their usual way of reacting or thinking about events. When this comes out in the story, it helps to strengthen their voice. For example, some characters tend to ask themselves mental questions. Others might make snappy interior comments. What does your character do?

3. Consider less common words. When you come to a larger, less common word in your writing, think about why you've used it. Would your character use that word? If not, what would they say instead?

4. Write a note from your character. If you're having trouble capturing your character's voice, try to put yourself in their shoes. Write a letter to another character, explaining any problem (doesn't have to be a problem in your story). This can help you discover the way the character puts words together, without the pressure of thinking about how it fits into the novel.

Do you have any other tips for creating a consistent character voice?

3 comments:

  1. Great tips. I find it extremely hard to go back and add a narrator's voice. I almost have to rewrite. Good luck!

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  2. It took me a while to figure out voice. But now my characters speak to me as I get the first spark of an idea. So I "hear" them now.

    I really like suggestion #2.

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  3. Wow these are excellent tips (and I always do #1--yay)!

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