Characterization Through Dialogue

In this week’s Tales of Grindea post, I mentioned I’ve been going through the dialogue of some of Teddy’s characters from Secrets of Grindea that I will write new lines for in our visual novel project. This is a super important step in getting the characters right when they’re originally written by someone else – but it’s also something that’s important to consider when writing your own characters.

The way a character speaks and the words they use can reveal a lot about their personality, background, and experiences. For example, a character who speaks in a formal and sophisticated manner may be seen as cultured and educated, while a character who uses slang and speaks in a casual tone may be perceived as laid-back and easygoing. Thus, by paying attention to a character’s speech patterns, writers can establish their personality traits and help readers better understand who they are.

By varying a character’s language use, you can also add depth and nuance to their portrayal. For instance, a character who is normally quiet and reserved may use strong language when pushed to the brink, which can add complexity to their characterization. Similarly, a character who uses a lot of technical jargon may reveal their profession or interests, which can help readers relate to them more easily.

Because of this, it’s important to consider your character, who they are and how they’d speak in any given situation. In order for them to feel consistent, they shouldn’t change the way they talk between scenes, and as with people in real life, most characters will be more likely to use certain expressions more than others – in the example of Quinton from Secrets of Grindea, he often calls junior collectors “recruit” rather than anything else, and often says “Whew!” when he gets overwhelmed.

In my opinion, the lack of proper characterization through dialogue is one of the big differences between experiences writers and someone who is just starting out. Often in the works of new writers, the characters tend to sound very much alike, even when they’re completely different people with very little in common. In those cases, what you hear isn’t really the voice of the character, but rather the voice of the author.

So, next time you sit down with your writing projects, take some time to pay attention to how you’re handling your dialogue. Do you pay attention to how your characters talk and make an effort to make them sound different? Is it possible to tell who’s saying what if you remove their names?

Just some things to consider 🙂

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