I am not a singer. Nuh-uh, no way. I know my talents fairly well, and I am certain singing is not among them. For this reason, I do most of my singing in my head. Man can I hit the high notes and flawlessly sing the runs when I do! My confidence blossoms so I open my mouth and belt it out but, to my dismay, the internal practice has not improved the external sound.
Similarly, most of the time readers read and writers write inside our heads. This begs the question, what do the characters sound like when their voices have a real, spoken quality? When I posed the question to myself about the characters in my novel, Concealed in the Shadows, I was surprised and a little disappointed to realize that there were prominent characters for who I couldn’t quite hear their voice apart from the ones I used for them in my head. Because the characters’ voices were internalized, many of them (especially the females) have a quality to their voice that is too much like my own – yikes!
One of my characters, Della, has a high-pitched voice, but her words are so sweetly flowing, by way of her good nature and Southern drawl, that it is not an unpleasant voice at all. If I heard a replication of her voice in a crowd, I would think, “Hey! That woman sounds just like Della!"
I wish I could say the same would be true for all of the characters that I’ve created. I know that as I further develop characters from Concealed in the Shadows, and introduce new characters in the second installment, I am focusing on really hearing the voices of my characters. Not just what their thoughts and decisions would be, but exactly how they would express such things to other characters. It may seem like a simple practice, but I believe it is already deepening the richness of character development in my second book.
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Let me give you an inside peek on how I am doing this: When I introduce a new character to the story, I ask them random and sometimes bizarre questions, like you might find in a character interview. I think about the responses for sometime, but actually have the character speak the answer back to me. This is when I listen to the sound of their voice and the way that they speak. It’s a bonus that I am gaining background information and personal preferences of the character at the same time!
So is it crazy that I hear voices in my head? No way! Authors make their livelihood from talking and listening to fictional characters. I urge all of you aspiring writers and authors alike to listen to your characters’ voices. Get to know them, what they sound like, and the many mannerisms that will make your character resonate as a real person to the reader.
About the Author:
Gabrielle Arrowsmith was born to her loving mother, father, and older brother on August 16th, 1988. She grew up in the small town of Ham Lake, MN enjoying soccer, school, and adventuresome play with her brother and cousins (who were much like siblings).website * Facebook * Goodreads * YouTube * Publisher
As she grew older, her desire to write led her to fill many diaries and notebooks with her thoughts, poems, stories, and scripts, some of which were even turned into rudimentary short films. Some of her other adolescent hobbies included reading, playing soccer, acting, and playing piano.
Gabrielle recalls her junior year in high school as the time when she first believed in the worth of her writing. Her AP course that year both challenged and celebrated her craft. Aiming for perfection caused her to slave over her work, but only so much as to allow time for her other college-level courses, soccer, track, National Honor Society, and school plays.
From 2006-2009 she attended the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN where she earned a degree in Elementary Education with minors in mathematics and Spanish language. She played collegiate soccer for the Saints, volunteered often, worked two on-campus jobs, and acted in three theater productions.
For the past three years, Gabrielle has taught third through sixth graders in various school settings. The relationships she has formed with her students have been very meaningful. However, after rediscovering her passion for storytelling (through both writing and acting) during the summer of 2012, Gabrielle recently decided to transition to day-to-day substitute teaching in order to pursue both of these creative outlets. She will follow these passions wherever they take her. She also continues to enjoy both playing and coaching soccer.
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