I am learning so much about my characters as I do these rereads and rewrites. Truly I know more now than when I created and wrote the story. As I mentioned before, there were times when I was writing I wanted to scream at my characters, “No, what are you doing?”, “That’s not what I had planned, stop it”, “Why did you say that?” Now as I am revision and rereading the piece again, it all makes sense. They knew exactly what they were doing and why.
Creating the character and background with personality and history and quirks allowed for very organic characters that made decisions and changed as they interacted with different characters. Very much like life. We are not the same person with the same voice when we talk to our friends and our boss and our love and our enemies. Everything from the way we hold ourselves to our vocal patterns change. Even if we are the most casual laidback person, we tend to try and speak and hold ourselves more impressively in front of a boss, and in a different way, in front of a potential date. We relax among our friends, and very often we are still a very different person when speaking to the person we spend the rest of our life with.
Authors often tend to create a voice for a character and try to stick to it. But is that natural? I’m finding there are nuances of differences that are vital to a believable character and loving it.
For example, I have a main character that is very put together and practical. She loves keeping control and making others feel happy with that confidence. So she speaks with a slightly elevated and very deliberate speech pattern. With her husband, she is relaxed and loving, but still rather reaching with her wit. She wants to continue impressing him as he impresses her every day. She wants to be worthy and acts accordingly.
Then comes the complication of a very annoying man out to turn everyone’s world upside down. He is also very in control and capable, but highly immature. He rubs her every kind of the wrong way. But the funniest thing is he regresses her speech patterns. She reacts and responds to his juvenile jabs and antics by spouting back to him with near teenage level comebacks and sarcasm. She realizes this after their mental sparring matches, but finds herself always regressing, in a very cute though annoying to her way.
Realizing this and seeing these different vocal patterns based on the characters interacting made me happy. So, in the end, trust the characters. They know what they are doing. It’s their lives on the line after all.