When your characters talk, it’s vital that they don’t all sound exactly the same. We should try to state something about them in the way they speak, something that expresses their uniqueness, their individuality.
Recently I’ve been attending a short course on playwriting, and this week’s focus was on developing character and voice. The character is the person, and the voice is the way they speak and express their personality, or the way they are feeling.
Add a bit of tension
Our tutor encouraged us to put our characters under pressure, and find out how they react. And it all has to be expressed in what they say and the way in which they speak.
Here are several of the exercises we were asked to complete during the session. You may like to try them yourself.
Write a short scene in which a jealous woman attempts to congratulate her friend on winning the lottery, while the friend is intent on explaining what she will do with the money.
Write a monologue or duologue of 20 lines, including a character who is very long-winded and wants to make him/herself heard.
Write a few lines about a character who has a secret he/she is trying to tell someone.
A secret? Something I need to get off my chest? Can’t imagine what makes you think that. I often sit here whispering to these Scarlet Pimpernels.