How do you create your character voices?
In a recent interview via AudioFile Magazine, Lorelei King shared some of her character creation tips with Robin Whitten.
Hear some of what Lorelei shared as well as my take on the application of her recommendations here on VOX Daily.
Finding the Characters That Live in Your Head
Lorelei King is an Audie award-winning narrator and co-founder of Creative Content, a digital audiobook publishing company. When it comes to creating characters for the audiobooks that she reads, Lorelei often finds that their voices often live in her head, sometimes borrowing from friends and family in addition to furnishing characters using proven techniques, two of which I will share with you below.
1. Character Construction
Creating a variety of characters is easier when you know what you can do to differentiate them from each other, especially vocally. Lorelei suggests that characters can be built technically, employing the following criteria
By using the outline above, I’ve deduced that you will be able to endow your characters with diverse vocal traits that will set them apart and distinguish them for your listening audience.
This is particularly helpful if you have many characters to work with.
Keeping the voices as separate as possible will also help you to more clearly remember what each character sounds like and why they sound the way they do.
Clues From The Author
The second tool that Lorelei uses to help her create character voices is to investigate clues left by the author in the text. You may not have thought of it this way, but the author is your greatest ally when it comes to creating believable characters!
The author educates you about each individual in their book through character development.
Here’s an example that Lorelei mentioned in her interview.
One of the characters she had to create a voice for was an older man. This man had an accent, he smokes, has dentures (bad dentures at that), and is a tad grumpy. She learned all of this from the clues the author left for her.
What did she do with his voice?
She put a little emphysema in it, and bearing in mind that he has dentures (and a cigarette in between his teeth), began gumming the text around in character as if she had something between her teeth.
You’ve got to look for clues about the character that might tell you how they talk. How old are they? Do they keep something perpetually in their mouth like a cigar, toothpick, etc.? Are they from a place that has a regional dialect you can tap into?
You’ll find that there are lots of ways to find voices but it is fantastic when an author gives you help developing your characters and their voices.