Creating Characters and Finding a Voice
Who are your favorite characters from literature? My choice is simple – I only have one. By that, I don’t mean that I only like one book but there is only one book character who has burrowed into my soul.
Sure, I like other characters. Eponine from Les Misérables was a favorite when I was a teenager. I like characters from TV, like Rebecca Bunch and Paula Proctor from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. But Molly Grue spoke to me on a deeper level even when I was a child.
Writers always want to create characters who are compelling and interesting. That doesn’t even mean a character has to be likable. Some of the best stories feature flawed main characters that you love to hate, but you can’t stop reading their story. Of course, characters with whom you identify will always be the ones that stick with you.
But fiction isn’t the only place where character creation is important. In non-fiction, a storyteller still needs to find their subject’s voice. And that’s necessary for short-form writing too, like blog posts.
Your blog isn’t just selling the products or services you provide: it’s selling you. Your blog needs to feature your voice. How do you find your voice even if you’re not a writer? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Describe Yourself in 3 Adjectives
Hmm, let me think. I think if I were to do this for myself, I would be:
And yes, you can have different adjectives that describe you when you’re in public versus when you’re in private. The key here is to choose the aspects of yourself that will be essential for your brand.
How Do You Talk?
Not long after I moved to Georgia, I accepted a recruiting job that I ended up in for 8 years. I remember the first time I took on a writing project in the office. If I recall correctly, I was asked to do a write-up on the proper dress code for our temporary employees. I finished the assignment and gave it to my supervisor. The first thing she said after she read it was “You write like you talk.” And honestly, I’ve never heard a better compliment.
My fiction is the same way. I hope to convey a quiet sense of humor, not slapstick comedy. And even in informative pieces like this, you may even read it in my voice if you’ve ever had a conversation with me. That’s the kind of personality that needs to be in your writing.
Here’s a great way to get into your mindset as a writer even if you don’t write much. Just grab a notebook and a pen or pencil and start writing. It doesn’t matter what you write about, just write anything that comes to the top of your head. It doesn’t have to make sense or tell a story.
When you’ve filled an entire page, look back at what you have. What phrases or ideas can you pick out that feel like you? This is a good start to understanding your voice as a writer.
List Your Favorite Cultural or Artistic Influences
Sometimes you can discover your voice by looking at the other voices that have influenced you. What writers do you love? What artists do you have on your wall? What TV shows or movies do you watch. And it doesn’t have to be limited to that. Any cultural or artistic figure you follow and admire can be added to your list of influences.
Of course, the idea is not to copy someone else’s voice, but you can use these examples and pull individual items that might appeal to you. For me, right now, it’s the humor of Rachel Bloom, the storytelling aesthetic of Bryan Fuller, the songwriting of Mike Doughty.
Work with a Professional
Here’s the thing: if you’re cringing every step of the way looking at these ideas to kickstart your writer’s voice and thinking it’s a waste of time...
Don’t do it.
There are people out there like me who can work with you to develop the voice and tone for your branding.
One of the first things I’ll do when we begin working together is set up a time to talk. I try to put myself in your shoes and see how you describe things or the three adjectives that might describe you. And, to be honest, your blogging brand may evolve as I get to know you better through our working relationship.
Are you ready to tackle a blog on your business website? Email me to learn more today.