Designing memorable characters doesn’t just stop at their appearance. The manner in which they speak and use body language is integral to building a full picture of who they are as a character as well as how others react to them. Here are some tips on how to make your characters’ voice stand out from the crowd.
Body language and tone of the voice
When conversing with another person, we take note of how they are standing, where their eyes are and how they hold themselves. Do they have a nervous twitch? Are their arms crossed? How do they shift their weight when they stand? Comics have the added advantage of conveying this unspoken language through visuals so use that to your 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.
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. 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.
Know your character’s background and personality
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 is 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 may be more likely to use colloquialisms and simple language to communicate.
Understanding where your character came from can help shape the way they speak. 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. 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 may become bolder when confronting something that triggers them. Getting to know who your character is and how/when they might speak allows you to build layers and depth as well as find potential points of conflict that can be used later.
What techniques do you use to 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, July 23, 2021
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