Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Who said what?

POVs and character’s voices. I’ve been thinking a lot about these subjects this week.

First up, I’ve just finished my Christmas story. Usually I try to stay in one character’s head for at least a third of a chapter. I scrapped my usual ways to write this.

Why? Well, writing from one perspective with a whole lotta story and a teensy word count made ‘showing’ the other character’s feelings through their actions almost impossible.

What I ended up with? A lotta Norah-type head hops which may or may not jar the reader out of the story.

Personally I don’t mind head-hopping, but I draw the line when it bounces into secondary characters, or a random shop owner, or a pet. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and that some readers prefer to get to know the characters. I agree, which is why I try to write this way, but I must emphasize 4K. Yup, four thousand words for a friends to lovers with an iddy biddy conflict, some hot stuff, a mini-black moment and a happy ever after. Obviously, I was over. A tad. :o)

Next up is a question one of my writer friends asked—how do you distinguish character voices? Hmm. I have to admit, I hadn’t thought about it. Every story I’ve written has a hero and heroine from different countries. In the Monster of Fame, Anna’s Scottish, Miles is English. Big vocab difference there, despite still being the UK. Anna worked at a check out before entering the show and finished up her education at high school. Miles is educated, owns his own business and is highly successful. Even if they were both from the same area, they’d both think differently—Anna using simple words, Miles using longer, more complex words. I also reflect this into the way they think. Until now, I didn’t really think about doing it.

One of the other ladies in our small group offered up some fantastic advice. She said that even though they may use the same words and phrases (because if both your characters are from, say, the south of London they’re going to use the same terminology) you should differentiate by their character traits. Another thing I hadn’t really thought about while writing, but looking back, I’d probably been doing it unconsciously. Miles taps his foot, grinds his teeth and rarely smiles. Anna is more relaxed, until stage fright kicks in then she shakes, her skin gets clammy and she closes her eyes to block out the audience.

Does anyone else have any tips and tricks to distinguish between character voices, or traits? I’d love to hear about it. And it’s not just an excuse to procrastinate via pondering. Really ;o)


  1. I always use a scene break *** so my reader knows I am either changing a scene OR character. I get confused when I read stories and the author head hops without warning.

    Can't wait to read your Christmas story.

  2. Hi Aimee - I wrote a huge reply to this blog last week and see that I must have deleted it! Darn - I'm sure it was full of amazing witty word (HA! :) ) - oh yes, I remembered - like Lacey, I use different sections - then fully immerse myself in the character I'm writing then - hopefully, their character will come through... x I'm intrigued by your story! x x