Reply To: Character Voice Analysis

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Character Voice Analysis Reply To: Character Voice Analysis



First of all, this is a great scene! I was really pulled into it and found myself wondering what in the world Joelle could have done. I felt sorry for Hugon, he sounds like he’s been through some stuff.

Hugon’s piece has the best voice, definitely. I loved these bits in particular:

The creek flowed south, like everything else in his life did.

But that sun would soon leave to let the darkness back, as all other things of value did in this God-forsaken world.

He felt Rolant bend beside him and begin to wash his face. A pang of deep regret shot into him. No amount of washing would take away the events of the past few days.

Probably contemplating how to rid herself of her current company. He hoped she would, he’d seen enough of her face for two lifetimes.

He’s voicey, opinionated, and cynical. I like how you can see he has sympathy for Rolant, instead of just pitying himself.

Overall, I like him, and I feel sorry for him.

Joelle and Tristan aren’t as distinctive, but they’re not bad.

For Joelle, it reads as if you were trying to make her frosty and sympathetic at the same time. As such, it doesn’t go far enough in either.

You could add more opinions to how she describes things as you did with Hugon. Especially if she’s describing her companions. They clearly have some sort of history together. Does she resent them, or does she feel like she’s the problem? In the first case, go all out and show her being annoyed at them for existing. In the second, you can let her scold herself and try to figure out if they’re mad at her.

(Note, long tangent coming in)

Since you have multiple narrators, you have the great advantage of perspective. Narrations are unreliable 90% of the time. Characters should have strong opinions that make them interpret things in incorrect ways, or that makes them project their own trauma onto everyone else. That’s what people do.

But, if you have two or more biased narrators, you can have them contradict each other. This will force your reader to think about what actually happened, and it makes both narrators more likable since you can see things from their eyes.

I used this trick recently. I had two characters that had a bad history together, and one of them was the narrator. She was so spiteful and downright unreasonable about the other character that my readers automatically disliked him. (Which wasn’t a bad thing, he did deserve it) That happens because readers are trained to take the narrator’s opinions as truth.)

Then I brought in a second narrator, who was less biased and showed that character in a far more favorable light, while also displaying that Narrator 1 had serious forgiveness issues.

TL;DR, If you have multiple narrators, go all out on making them biased to the point of being unreliable. It’ll make their voices stronger and make them more interesting to read.

Okay, to get back to the point. You can do that, and decide how she feels about life in general and her companions in particular.

Most of the time, an opinionated character is a voicey character. And that also means opinions about small, trivial things.

So you could maybe have Tristan think more forcefully about the group he’s pursuing. It seems like he’s angry at them, so show that!

You missed an opportunity here:

Janor grumbled something about devil women and their esoteric ways.

You can have Tristan mentally comment on this, either how Janor saw danger behind every bush, (This would make Tristan seem more lighthearted) or it can make him nervous, or he can admit that Janor has a point and it wouldn’t be beyond her to try that. Does he agree or not? Is he sympathetic toward the group or not?

I like how you worked childhood memories into the pieces for all of them! It gives them a bit more background.

Anyway, great job on Hugon, and the others are getting there! Hope this helped.


Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

Pin It on Pinterest