Who are you? Who am I? What makes us who we are, what drives us, and how do we express these things? All these questions are a good opening to talking about character voice! So let’s dive in on how to find your voice the Logan way!
Getting the Visualization
Personally, I (and many in my group) like to start with a picture to visualize all that you want to make. This really helps me to get into the mind of the character, to start shaping their personality. Once you have a solid visualization you can start making the big decisions! What are you good at, and why do you put the effort in to be good at it? What are you bad at, and why don’t you put more effort into that so you don’t suck so much? What is your motivation to continue to grow and improve? These make up your voice; who you are through interactions.
Next start thinking of quirks, and if the system allows, drawbacks. If you’re having trouble coming up with these on your own, try generating some! These aspects are the bread and butter of your voice. They should be less about skills and more about personality or innate abilities that affect your aforementioned personality. Think about someone with a photographic memory, they would see less sense in pouring through documents to memorize them because it comes naturally to them. Likewise, someone who has a fear of heights will unconsciously avoid them and really have a hard time confronting that fear.
Now, I touched on fears, these don’t need to affect your voice in any obvious way, or immediately. It’s better to allude to them and try to seem natural as you avoid anything to do with them over time. Slip it in, unless you are confronted with it. Then you need to make the decision. How afraid are you? Just uncomfortable? Mild panic? Full blown phobia panic? These are big moments in deciding the voice of your character, and can also lead to character growth further down the line.
Start with a Picture. Then determine your skills, what are you good at, and what are you bad at. Figure out what motivates you. Add in some quirks, drawbacks and fears to round out your personality.
Background Isn’t Everything
Take all of these things, slap that together with your background, add your visuals and boom. You got the basics of a voice for your character. When it comes down to it, voices need all these things to be full. But it really is how you play your character.
Think of it this way. You have 2 characters. Both have the same backstory: their hometown was burned down by mercenaries, take up the sword to never be hopeless again. The difference is the voice of that character.
One can make that character edgy and gloomy, unable to recover from the horrors, while the other may become the most iconic hero, swearing that it will never happen to another helpless town. The difference is the voice, the personality and drive say more about who your character is than background events.
One can make that character edgy and gloomy, and another can be the most heroic because of his voice, not his background. Voice says more about who your character is that that background does in some aspects.
How do you find your character’s voice? Let us know in the comments below!