Monday, August 31, 2009

Personality - Voice - Writing

So, what makes a character stand out?

We were talking about this at my critique group on Saturday. Sometimes characters seem to blend together. Maybe it's because they are all too similar. In real life, no two people are the same - not even twins.

So how do we create characters that stand out from one another?

We shouldn't even have to use tags to know who's talking. No more, "Ellen said", "Jim answered" or "Josh screamed". We should know who screamed just by the way he did it.

Maybe easier said than done. But I was thinking about this when I was sewing new cushions for my benches outside.

Maybe most people don't even have benches outside and those that do, might be happy just to have the benches - but not me. I want soft, cushy pillows to sit on.

What does that say about me? Maybe I'm a WHIMP or spoiled, it might even mean I have problems with my butt - who knows. But it has to say something. And we should make sure we create characters that are saying something about themselves by what they do, wear, or even the way they position their bodies during a conversation.

Everyone has their own way of doing activities, saying simple phrases or even wearing their clothes.

Here's one little Youtube video I've shown before but I think it's helpful. My family and I tried to show what voice means, simply by the way we say things. See if you can guess what kind of personality each person has just by the way we say this one famous sentence.

14 comments:

Cate Gardner said...

Good post, Kim.

Christina Farley said...

Oh I loved this! Your family rocks BTW. They are such cheerleaders for you! This is really such a great reminder. I need to constantly keep this in mind as a writer.

Kelly said...

I agree with Christina! Your family does rock! They are always up for anything! Cute vid again!
Also, great points about voice. I for one would just sit on a plain chair on our patio even though cushions are a few steps away stored in a bin. I don't know why! I just don't want to take the extra step of taking it out and putting it away! :) My husband always does though. Your cushion is pretty by the way!

Amy Tate said...

This post makes me laugh! I love your creativity, Miss Kim! My gosh, those seats look like something out of Pottery Barn, girl. Wow, you're talented. And so right...characters shouldn't be forced. We should be able to read them like they're real.

Mary Alice said...

I really like your bench pillow!

Lily said...

Video... Distinctive voices for sure!

Stephanie Faris said...

Well, I don't have a bench outside but if I did, I probably wouldn't have cushions because I'm too lazy to sew them. So what does THAT say? :-)

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

man, you are like multi-talented and all kinds of crap. i hope someday i grow up to be you!

http://www.speakingfromthecrib.com

adrienne said...

I remember that video! Your family is awesome.
Great advice about creating distinct personalities.

Kim Kasch said...

Thanks for the kind comments everyone. My kids and hubs are very supportive-most of the time, unless dinner is late, or clothes need to be washed, or...well, like I said-most of the time.

I love doing homebody stuff - like reading, writing, knitting, and sewing. Just wish I was better at all of it. Guess I'd have to focus on one thing to get really good at it. But you know "Variety is the spice" and all that.

MG Higgins said...

Great reminder about voice, Kim. (And I LOVE the cusion.)

Rena said...

Great post! The video is cool too. I'd never seen that before. I like your reference to the cushions and what that says about you. I suppose it can mean different things to everyone, just as you came up with several ideas yourself.

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

I love those bench cushions! I really wish I was crafty like that. The most that my sewing machine has seen is christmas pillows ;-(

Danette Haworth said...

Haha! Great video! I like Kara's interpretation--reminded me of Napolean Dynamite. Your whole family is funny!