Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Notice How People Talk

Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
        Image Copyright © Joan Y. Edwards
"Notice How People Talk" by Joan Y. Edwards

Take note of how people talk. Watch them talk. Do their heads move when the mouth moves? Do the eyes up or down when they are talking? Are the hands still, or moving rapidly as the words come out? One person may talk out of the right side of his mouth. Another may talk out of the left side of his mouth. A bell ringer may bellow like you can't hear them unless they do. A little old lady might whisper so low you can't hear her in a noisy crowded room.

I watched a western movie once in which the star of the show barely opened his mouth to speak. It was as though the director told him, "Do not open your mouth to talk. There are a gazillion flies around here and one may go in. Don't open your mouth to talk."

Does your main character talk with his mouth barely open. If he does, would it make it easier or harder for others to understand him? Try talking with your mouth almost shut.

Is he a ventriloquist and his mouth stays shut while he makes it seem like his words come from the dummy on his lap?

Give your characters a special way to talk, it might make it easier for a reader to visualize a picture of them.
Does he lisp?
Does she stutter?

Look at yourself in the mirror while you are talking. Write 3 sentences to describe what your mouth does when you talk. How does talking influence your eyes? What about your hands?

While you're watching your favorite movie or television show, notice how a main character moves his mouth, eyes, and hands when he talks.

Read your favorite novel. How does the author give distinctive speech traits to the characters? Copy any of the descriptions you believe are good.

Choose one of the things you observe to put into one of your works in progress. See if this adds depth to your character. I believe it will.

Enjoy watching people. They are intriguing. Celebrate your writing skills.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Joan's Elder Care Guide - Release by 4RV Publishing in June 2014.


  1. Joan,
    People watching is fun, isn't it? It is a worthwhile pastime for anyone wanting to improve their writing.

    I loved the humor of the cowboy example. I was thinking about the little old lady example and wanting to add that someone going deaf might nearly shout what she says across the room. Depending on the conversation, that could be very embarrassing.

    Thanks for another quality post.

  2. Dear Linda,
    Thank you for writing. I appreciate it very much. You are right. People watching is fun. I'm glad you liked the humor of the cowboy example. You're right when someone is going deaf they might shout. Or if they are around people who are hard of hearing, they might shout to be heard. Great observations.

    Celebrate you and your writing skills,
    Joan Y. Edwards

  3. Great advice, Joan. It's always difficult to try to make each character unique.

  4. Dear Janet,
    Thank you very much for writing. You are right. It does seem difficult to make each character unique. It is fun to give them characteristics that make them stand out. Good luck with your writing.

    Never Give Up