Firstly, I apologise for the delay in writing this blog. I've had major issues with provision of phone and internet in our new home. Thanks so much for your patience.
When I start a new work of fitction, I always make sure I create my characters as real as I can with dark secrets in their past; dreams and hope for their future; their disappointments in life up until this time and everything in between. I include everything right down to their favourite colour and foods.
One of my current projects is going through a deceased Christian woman's possessions with a view to writing her biography or a story based on her life. I haven't decided which way I'm going to write the story yet. I'm hoping by the time I finish reading through the documents and letters the Lord will point me in the direction he wants me to go.
As I read the letters I'm conscious of the voice of each of the letter writers and how I'm beginning to understand their personalities through the letters. I'm learning about the hopes, dreams and disappointments of the people who have been a part of this woman's life. I'd never thought written correspondence, whether it's letters or emails could be so insightful in getting to know a person and how this can be used to build a character's profile and voice. I've also realised that each of us have our own voice in writing as well as the way we speak.
This exercise adds a different dimension to how I now view my future characters and the voice I will use in the dialogue I will create for them. Think about the characters in your books; are they speaking the dialogue in their own voice or art they using your voice in disguise.
I recently had a reader, who knows me well; say she saw me speaking through one of the characters. 'It sounded just like you,' she said. At first, I smiled at her comment, but the more I thought about it and studied the dialogue in that book, the more I became disappointed I hadn't created the character true to their personality.
Writers put a lot of themselves into their work. I expect that of myself because my readers want to get to know me through my writing. As writers our voices should be in our narrative of the work, but when the character is speaking, it is their words, not ours.
The comment from my reader gave me a lot to consider. From now on I will be revising my dialogue with the view of fine tuning my character's voice. What about you: whose voice is your character using?