Telling Characters Apart

Day three of revision work on City of the Saints, and I think it’s going well.

City has six POV characters, and I want each of them to sound distinctive in his speech and feel distinctive in his POV.  What are some of my tools?

  • Vocabulary (some think; others reckon).
  • Elision and contractions (for some it’s not; for others it ain’t).
  • Oaths (Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Rostam’s mace!  Jebus!  Egad!).
  • Wordiness.  Correctness and precision of grammar.
  • Slang (one character is a carny).
  • Use of foreign words or phrases.
  • Long versus short words.
  • Subject matter obsession.
  • Lyricism vs. prosaicness.
  • Gnomic speech, folk wisdom.
  • Interjections and contentless words, er, that is to say, et cetera.
  • Speech impediments (at one point, one of my characters gets his dose broked).
  • Specific memories / references unique to the character.

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