Varying Fictional Character Voice
Your character has a look, a location and a social structure surrounding him or her, but have you considered your character’s voice? Aside from an accent and choice of vocabulary, you can add to your characters by manipulating the complexity of their speech.
Differentiate Character Dialogues
Do all your characters have the same intelligence and education? They shouldn’t. You can display differences through choice of vocabulary by using big words for the smarter characters and small words for the not so bright ones. However, another way to demonstrate character differences might be complexity of speech. This is subtler than a character’s accent, word choice, and mannerisms. In fact, it is a characteristic your readers will probably not even notice –on the surface. However, such additions add character depth.
How to Manipulate Complexity of Speech with Fictional Characters
Length of sentences is one way to easily relate the complexity of a character’s mind. An unsophisticated character will use shorter sentences and the vernacular. You might try describing longer pauses before the character answers. A simple character will answer, “no,” where a complex character might use, “I can’t say.”
You might try rating character intelligence on a scale from one to ten. You can do the same for education and complexity of thought. Combine them into one score or use all three. Once you have the character nailed down, you might have an easier time imagining how he or she should express thoughts.