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Use a voice journal to capture your character’s original voice

Have you ever written a passage of dialogue between two characters who sounded just alike?  I have. After awhile, I couldn’t tell which character was speaking. With a novel full of characters, it can be difficult to make each and every one stand out with a distinctive voice.

One way to find a character’s distinctive voice is keep a Voice Journal. Author James Scott Bell says he’ll do this if he finds one of his characters is starting to sound too dull or pedestrian.

Bell goes into further detail about how to keep a Voice Journal in his book The Art of War for Writers.

I started a journal for my antagonist so I can delve deeper into his psychology and get a better feel for who he is. I set a timer for 15 minutes, asked him a few questions to get him talking, and then recorded what he said. The important thing is to completely let go, don’t try to control it, and write as fast as you can.

Take the Voice Journal challenge. Pick a character who feels flat to you and see what they have to say.

For more tips on dialogue see my previous post.

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