Author’s Voice Vs. Character’s Voice
Though an author’s voice is not the same thing as the character’s voice, they are fundamentally interlinked.
The author’s voice is what distinguishes him/her from other authors and what persuades readers to continue buying his/her books. From a reader’s point of view, it can be something indeterminate. I recently read a review in which someone was praising a writer by likening her style with “coming home”, implying that it was approachable, easygoing and filling like homemade pie. A critic, by contrast, will consider both distinct elements (such as the syntax, punctuation, dialogue structure, the use of metaphors, the skill or lack thereof in organising ordinary words in ways that yield extraordinary meaning, etc.), but also the ability to combine them into something unique, pleasant and comprehensible. The author’s voice is the most important ingredient of a book. Without it, there is nothing.
The voice of characters, on the other hand, is the marriage between how they sound (aloud and during inner monologue) and how they behave and react. It’s a blend of speech, idiosyncrasies, character traits, sociocultural background, and an ineffable “something” that hopefully lends them memorability. A character is – and should come across as – different not just from the author, but also from the other characters that populate a novel.
What type of characters do you enjoy most?
- Those who speak in short or long sentences?
- Introvert or extrovert?
- Heroes or villains?
- Like you or not like you at all?