HARRY POTTER versus RON WEASLEY
The Winner is all about VOICE.
Harry Potter was very different from Ron Weasley and not just because Ron had red hair and Harry had brown and Junie B. Jones is by no stretch of the imagination similar to Matilda.
The thing that makes people stand out from one another in a crowd of characters isn’t necessarily how they look – although that is something that catches your eye…at first. The truth is people are different in so many complicated ways that go far beyond appearance. They speak different, walk differently, and even sit in very distinct ways.
This is a writer’s job: to capture all these differences on the printed page to make one character stand out from the other. This is what people call “Voice” in the writing world. It’s the “voice” of a character that makes us want to travel on the journey through a book with them and it’s what makes us love a person or despise the very ground they contaminate for us.
Think about it… your best friend is important to you because __________.
Only you can fill in that blank and perhaps there are many reasons, but can you capture those reasons in a short paragraph about her/him?
Let’s all do a little writing sample that “shows” your friend to the reader, without “telling” us what those characteristics are that made you want to spend your time with him/her.
That’s essentially what you have to do in your stories, show us your characters by having us see how they talk, walk, and yes, even how they sit differently from the characters in your story.
Think about Katniss Everdeen. How did Suzanne Collins bring this young girl to life on the printed page that made Hollywood want to invest in her future enough to bring her to the silver screen? And, what was it about Katniss that caught Jennifer Lawrence’s attention enough to want to portray her on the big screen?
That’s your job as a creative writer to capture the character so well with your words that everyone either loves or hates him so much they just have to turn the page to find out what happens.
It’s not an easy job but it’s the challenge every writer deals with every time they boot up their laptop or pick up their pencil…now that’s another example of the unique way people are different from one another…laptop, pencil, what does that “show” you about the writer without anyone “telling” you a word about the person? You might be able to assume that one writer is older than the other, or perhaps one writer is struggling financially while the other has so much money he can afford extravagant technology.
Remember, everyone has their own mannerisms, attitudes, and body language. These are the attributes that make human beings different from one another.
And even if characters are using the exact same words, no two people would ever say anything in precisely the same way.
Watch this short clip to see exactly what I mean.
And, if you want to read more about voice, check out these sites:
If you’d like to help Kim, check out her latest middle grade book, IRMA THE INVENTOR, soon to be released: COMING AUGUST 21, 2017
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