Am I the only person who writes by sound? Do you ever read your work out loud to see if it sounds right?
Not just whether the dialogue is right for the characters, although, if something isn’t going well, I’ve been known to copy all the dialogue into a new document and read it out loud. That’s usually where I find a disconnect. If the conversation itself doesn’t make any sense, or if I’ve lost the voice of a character somewhere, it’ll show up in the dialogue.
But the actual sound of the words. Do they sound like the people you see and hear in your head? Each of my characters have their own particular vocal inflections to me. Whether it’s a regional accent (I fondly recall a Welsh hero I once wrote – he reduced me to absolute puddles. I wrote that doomed story for days just to listen to him talk.) or an accent they’ve acquired through proximity or sheer hard work, or an accent they thought they’d lost that comes back in moments of stress.
I’m also huge on actual tone of voice. A light and lovely tenor, a sexy contralto, a deep rumble. Strident, shrill and rough also have their places. I don’t just have visual images of my characters, I have aural ones.
The trouble is getting that sound to reproduce itself on the page. That’s why it distresses me when someone misunderstands a line of dialogue. They don’t hear the character the same way I do, or they’d get it. There’s obviously a flaw in my writing when that happens.
I read once that while men are attracted to how a woman looks, a woman is led to the bedroom by the ears. Not just the words, but the right voice will hit all the arousal buttons.
So how do your characters sound to you? Post a snippet of something that gives the reader a hint of tone or sound or voice.
I do that too.
I write by sound. My grammmar is by sound too. If it sounds right...it goes.