Archive for January, 2012

Do you hear voices? You should. It is important to hear the voice of each and every character in your story.

Each character is an individual and, as an individual, speaks, thinks, and acts differently from the other characters. After all, that is what gives them individuality, makes them their own person. Otherwise they would all sound alike, flat and boring. It is up to you as the author to bring your characters to life and give them substance. In other words, you have the duty to your readers to make your characters sound like real people.

How do you breathe life into a character? First I would suggest taking note of the people around you, the ones you know and don’t know. Watch them for gestures, facial expressions, favorite words they use frequenstly. Do they sigh frequently while speaking? do they have a habit of laughing at times that do not call for laughter? Do they frown a lot or have a twitch? Is there a favorite word or phrase they interj4ect often such as “oh, gosh” or “good gosh a mighty?” Does the person have a quick temper or is he/she a mouse?

Next get your character profiles for each character and study them. Once you have an idea of your character’s personality and background, you need to figure out how you can reflect the character’s personality, education, social background, birth place, gender, and even job-related way of talking. Have their grammar match education and slang match age and lifestyle.

Don’t forget dialect. This could reflect the area of the country from which the character comes. Foods they eat can show can show where they were raised or simply show an idiosyncrasy. Be careful, though, not to overdo dialect. It could cause your reader to stop reading your book.

Be sure to match all the elements to your character. Body language (yes, it is an unspoken voice), thoughts, and speech should all match. Otherwise you could give your reader the impression your character has multiple personalities!

Faye M. Tollison, Author

Author of: To Tell the Truth

Upcoming books: The Bible Murders and Sarah’s Secret






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Interior Monologue



I love monologue, but it is not easy to write. The most popular and most used monologue is, of course, interior dialogue. Most editors and publishers frown upon interior dialogue; but if used properly, it can give your story a boost.

Interior dialogue can provide a look into the mind of your character, revealing information that cannot be given through spoken dialogue. This can be an intimate and very powerful means of establishing a character’s voice and personality. However, this tool must be used sparingly as over use of it can be interrupting to your story and thus annoying to the reader.

Speaker attribution is not necessary as your reader will know whose thought it is. Your character should not “mumble” under his breath. After all, it is a thought.

Interior dialogue can be put in italics and even put in its own paragraph. But do not use in long passages or use frequently. This can indicate weak writing. If you have passages of interior dialogue that is more than a page long, you may need to shorten it or break it up.

Another point that I find very intriguing is that you can use interior dialogue to increase tension at a key point in your plot. For example, show your character descending onto madness or drunkenness. Put your readers into the mind of a paranoid claustrophobic and see the tension mount, leaving your reader on the edge of her/his seat, wanting more, unable to put the book down.

I hope you have gained a respect for interior dialogue, but remember to use it sparingly and appropriately.


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