Keeping a character’s voice consistent throughout a book can be a challenge. There are a multitude of factors to maintaining a character’s voice. Keep in mind that as the character develops, the voice doesn’t change. A character’s voice at its core can best be described as a character’s personality. Here are a few factors for you to consider:
- Social class
- Extrovert or introvert
- Sense of humor or seriousness
- Long sentences or short, crisp ones
- Impulsive or logical
- How character views surroundings
- How character makes decisions
- What character observes first
And many, many more…
Let me use my character, Amelia Gareth from When Stars Die, to give you an example of voice consistency by answering some of the points above.
- Social class: Amelia comes from the upper class in the 19th century, so when she speaks or narrates, her exposition and dialogue are going to have a formality to them that someone from the lower class wouldn’t have.
- Intelligence: Amelia is sharp, so when she is in a situation that demands an immediate answer, she is able to come up with one, no matter how impulsive or illogical it may be. She has to be intelligent to survive in her world.
- Background: Before Amelia came to Cathedral Reims, she mostly lived at her manor, hardly venturing outside, so she isn’t very worldly. Even at Cathedral Reims she is confined and only allowed certain knowledge taught by the nuns. So the cathedral suppresses her chances at personal development. Thus, her actions and dialogue are going to mirror this lack of worldliness, so she often comes off as immature.
- Extrovert or Introvert: Amelia is an extrovert. She wants to be around people. She wants friends, as she didn’t have many at home. She is fiercely protective of her younger brother and will do whatever it takes to protect him. She also isn’t afraid to voice her feelings when she finds something disagreeable. She’s terrified of ending up alone. She is concerned with her external world.
- Long sentences or short, crisp ones. Amelia might fall somewhere in between. She exists in the 19th century, so brevity wasn’t too much of a thing. If you’ve ever read books published in the 19th century, you’ll know this. However, her voice had to be adjusted for a more modern audience, so she can’t be too wordy. But her thought process isn’t clipped. It’s detailed.
- Impulsive or logical: Due to her background, she is impulsive. She is about her happiness, about protecting her younger brother. When either of these things are threatened, she doesn’t think logically to find a solution.
- Surroundings: When Amelia views her surroundings, she views them in detail. When the story begins, she has only been at the cathedral for three years, so she has been trapped in her manor for fifteen, so it’s like the world is new to her.
- Decisions: She’s never been confronted with the harsh realities of life, so, as stated above, her decisions are impulsive.
- Observations: Because of what she’s gone through, she’ll note the negative things first. Witches are despised in her world, so she’ll generally relate that negativity to the state of the world overall. When she can’t find anything negative, she’ll note the positive, but she’ll think of a crisp, blue sky as something that shouldn’t be there because of the world she lives in.
- Sense of humor or seriousness: You can probably tell Amelia is serious. There is a lot going against her, so she feels like she cannot relax.
So when doing a character outline for voice, keep these things in mind and anything else you can think of to keep your character’s voice consistent. Refer to this outline constantly. Step into your character’s shoes and ask, “How would she/he react? How would he/she respond to a character telling him/her something?” And so on and so forth. Also, if it has been a couple of days since you’ve last written, read the previous few pages to get back into your character’s voice. Simply put, become your character.
Serendipity (names, places, mapbuilding, etc.)
Quick Story Idea
Full Story Idea
really just all of Seventh Sanctum
Fantasy Story Situaton
Chaotic Shiny is just really good in general
- ❣ - hands
- ❤ - voice
- ۵ - feet
- ❦ - lips
- ø - eyes
- ღ - nose
- ♮ - body type
- ♫ - singing voice
- ✮ - sleeping habits
- ✉ - texting habits
- ✿ - laugh
- ✍ - writing style
- ⌨ - time-wasting habits
- ❅ - keeping warm/keeping cool techniques
- ✎ - taste in music/literature
- ☤ - self care/first aid habits
- ✪ - favourite food/eating habits
- ☁ - ideal holiday
- ✄ - nervous habits
- ☂ - sadness
- ❈ - ideal birthday