If you want to design a memorable character it doesn’t just stop at their looks. How they speak, write and use body language is integral to who they are as a person as well as how other character’s may react to them. When you read a comic or story where you can’t distinguish between who is saying what, then, you have a problem. So here are some tips on how to give your characters’ a unique voice.
Know your character’s background
A character has to have started from somewhere and that somewhere will have made a lasting impression on how the character communicates with others. If the character was highly educated they will be more likely to use longer and more complicated words when explaining concepts to others. Contrast this to characters from a lower socio-economic background; these types of characters would be more likely to use colloquialisms and simple language to communicate.
Understanding where your character came from can help shape the way they speak. So take some time to think about the area they are from, what sort of access to information they might have had and who their mentors could have been. This will all go on to inform the manner in which they speak.
Know your character’s personality
If your character is impatient they may speak in shorter sentences or get frustrated when people take too long to explain something. Or take a shy character who finds it difficult to connect with others; they might not say much all the time but maybe when they do it is to the point or they may be the type to get super bold when confront with something that triggers them. Getting to know who your character is and how/when they might speak allows you to building layers and depth as well as find potential points of conflict that can be used later.
You can use vernacular in dialog
Dialog does not have to follow the rules of proper grammar because people sure as hell don’t. They take short cuts and use local slang, contractions and run on sentences. People are messy when they speak and the same goes for your characters. This is where you can really put some detail and flourish into how they might talk to others because unless they’re an anal english major they are not going to be perfect.
Body language can affect the tone of the voice
When we begin a conversation with another person we take note of how they are standing, where their eyes are and how they hold themselves or react to others. In comics we have the added advantage of conveying this unspoken language through visuals and you should use that to its full advantage. The way in which someone says something is highly important to the direction a conversation will go and it reveals a little bit of who that person is.
How do you create a unique voice for your characters? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!
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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, May 31, 2019
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