Wednesday, November 25, 2015

One Way to Write Dissimilar Voices Among Similar Characters

This past weekend, I returned to some skipped-over scenes in Before the Blood, those that  feature the Munsvonille Society for the Humanities, which meets Thursday evenings in the parsonage parolor.

In a previous chapter, I had already established the men that attend by name and expertise. But because the scenes are sporadic (although very essential to building the plot), I needed to differentiate between these men in such a way that the reader can envision them, especially since three of them are simultaneously introduced at the meetings.

While the scenes are by no means perfect, this is how I tackled it:

1) In my notes, I kept the expertise of each man narrow, but elaborated in a few lines - very distinct to each expertise - on how each expertise might influence the character's viewpoints on a range of topics.

2) In each scene, I reintroduce each character by his full name at the first reference.

3) I use beats, gestures, and actions to call attention to physical attributes, to remind the reader the physical apearance of each man, and to quicken the scene.

4) I carefully crafted the spoken reactions to the discussion topics by referring to the men's expertise and viewpoints already established in my notes. This way each man responds in ways that are true to him, while using his dialogue to build tension, reveal pertinent information, show personality and intent, and move the plot forward.


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