Hey guys, last week we talked about Differentiation of Characters, so this week we’re going to learn to talk the talk and walk the walk. This may seem fairly obvious to most of you aspiring authors out there, but too often I’ve read a book, or other work, and seen a character broken for the sake of ease. I urge you not to take the easiest path in this case, but rather to let your characters work it out themselves. If you’ve never shot before, you’re probably not a crack shot, so why would a character who had been timid their whole life suddenly be outgoing and outspoken? Consider your character as if they were a friend of yours who you were writing about, or put yourself in their mindset.
Speech and mannerisms are all part of you character, part of how they display themselves to the world. It’s how you clue the reader in to who your character really is. If your character is a proud soldier like Kaiden, they would walk proudly, head up, moving stiffly. Kaiden is rash and acts without thinking, so often he speaks much the same way. Only when put into particularly difficult situations does he think anything through. This often leads him straight to trouble. I generally try and keep his speech very direct. He doesn’t sugar-coat much, but he is gentle with women and children, as that was simply his upbringing. He doesn’t believe much in losing a fight, doesn’t usually flinch at pain.
I did my best to make it so that every sense of him reflected his strength and gave a sense of calm. What do you want your character to represent to the reader? What is the purpose of your character? If they’re burdened, do their shoulders seem to hang? If they are silly and carefree, they might make over exaggerated motions, speak a little too loud, be easily distracted. Someone ill-educated might had have a hard time with complex words, or lack a grasp on proper speech. A character suffering from depression might be a pessimist who brings others down, or overly bubbly in attempts to mask their condition.
Consider the character you’re building, the way they communicate with others, and unless something drastic happens, stick to that. Never go for a complete turn around, because it takes time to change, and a will to do so. A person must fight to change.
Next up, we’ll discuss those devilishly good looks you have planned. Until then, make characters, cause trouble, and keep writing.
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