As mentioned last week, creating good dialogue is an essential element in setting the tone for your character(s). I’ll go more in-depth on the subject by focusing on the personality and voice.
Voice and personality are key in molding a character into the vision you have in your head. They inform you of what a character will or won’t say in conversation (character-to-character or inner dialogue). These two work in tangent to create an individual of distinction, especially when there are multiple characters involved.
Personality is the first concept that should come to mind when creating dialogue for the character(s). Whether a sadistic control freak, a depressed creative or a paranoid introvert, the dialogue must fit the personality. As a writer, it is your job to know your character(s) inside and outside when crafting dialogue. You don’t want a character with a sunny disposition speaking on some issue like a death in a negative manner. That language wouldn’t fit who the character is.
Along with personality, a character’s voice helps in shaping the dialogue in your script. Tone, language and phrasing can inform a character’s dialogue and their interaction with other characters (major and minor). Voice can be a tricky area if you don’t have a handle on a character’s personality. You don’t want someone whose language is peppered with clever, dry humor to have a line where bathroom humor shows up. It could come off as either not understanding your character or a jarring moment that takes the reader out of the script.
Like in last week’s post, a trick you can use in developing personalities and voices by creating character bios to help keep yourself straight when writing for multiple characters. These pieces of the puzzle can inform what the dialogue on the page.
Hopefully, this post helps you in formulating dialogue through characters’ personalities and voices. But this isn’t the end of the conversation, you can leave comments below and discuss this even more with your fellow screenwriters along with myself.
Come back later this week for more on creating the dialogue for your character(s) through phrasing and vernacular.