Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hearing Voices: How Strong Characters Create Conflict

Voice plays an important part in writing. When a creator finds his distinctive voice, his writing is ready. Once a writer finds his voice, he has the market cornered. He controls all the supply of his unique voice. If there is a demand for it, he can name his price. That's basic economics. That's all well and good, but there are other voices that are almost as important as the writer's voice and sometimes they can come into competition with it.

A story will not work if the writer does not imbue each character with a distinct voice. It is easy to see when a writer drops the ball in this area. Many works from Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Brian Bendis are exemplify what happens when the writer's voice overwhelms his stories. These situations are not only extremely annoying.  They can also take the audience right out of the story; diverting their focus from the characters and placing it squarely on the writer's ciphers. This is one writing mistake that can easily sap all the fun out of a story.

Creating distinct voices for each character makes the writer's job infinitely easier. The heart of a good story is conflict. Characters with strong differing viewpoints create conflict just by being in the same room. Read a book like X-STATIX and ask yourself if that book would be half as entertaining if everyone on the team spoke with the same voice. Of course not! The conflict between the members of the X-STATIX was one of the main factors in making it the best comic book series of the last decade.

Give every character a unique voice, and the story will write itself!


Scott Amundson writes comics for many publishers, including Bluewater Productions, Heroes Fallen and Recondite Pictures.

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