Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Characterization - How do they speak

The winner of Requiem Murder is Ixtemia. I'll be emailing her soon to let her know how to reach me. The next book up is The Midas Murders. Katherine goes to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend New Year's Eve with her friend Lars and arrives to find him missing. She is plunged into another of her mysteries and indulges in a bit of romance.

Another way of having your characters come to life is through their speaking patterns.
To do this, you have to listen to the hero or heroine and you also need to know a bit about them. I once did an exercise when I was given a situation and then I was asked to put what the characters would say. The professions and or ages of the characters was given to me. When trying for just a few lines of dialgue to tell another person that someone had died was very interesting and challenging. Each of the characters was of a different age, career path, area of the country where they had been raised. Really learned a lot from doing this.

Listening to people can help a great deal. Even the same words spoken by two people can sound different. Choice of words and tone of voice It may not be the words said but the way they are said.

Word choices are another way to let the characters speak. Much depends on where you were raised or your social background or education. Find people who follow the profession your character has chosen and listen to their speech. People either laugh or are aghast at the meal conversation of nurses and doctors. They can eat and talk about some very not appetizing situations. Other professionals have their own argot so tune into these.

The tempo of the speech. Some people speak in short, precise bits, others go on for pages. Some people's speech is slow and measured and others sound like a machine gun going off.

All these things can go into making your characters seem more real that "real" people.

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