What do your characters sound like?

Ever since I began looking into having an audiobook produced on ACX.com, I have been thinking about the voices of my characters.  It’s funny, but I never really had considered that question before.  I have a pretty good idea of what they look like, (Agony, for example, looks like Shirley Manson in the “Tell Me Where It Hurts” video) but I never really wondered what they sound like.

I tend to read my work aloud as I compose, so I hear the dialogue in my own voice.  Looking at the idea of having someone else read my words, however, makes me wonder how I would describe my character’s voices to a voice actor.

So far all I’ve come up with is that Cobb Russwin sounds like Jim Brass from CSI.

This is tough. 

How about you?  When you write do you hear your characters in a specific voice?


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What do your characters sound like?

  1. Sue says:

    I noticed your comment on Mae Clair’s blog and thought “good for that guy”. You said what I was thinking. So as oft happens my curiosity got the better of me and I came over to see who “that guy” is. Glad I did.
    No I don’t think too much of what my characters sound like. But Jim Brass’ voice is a good one!

  2. l0rdraven says:

    I do have a voice for each of my characters, I guess it is just my oddness. The main character in the book I am working on sounds like Batman with the deep gruff voice and the leading lady something like an female Broadway performer I know but can place her name right now. I guess it is my way of keeping them in their place as I write.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      I wonder if that has to with how our brains work. I am a very visual person, myself, and while I am very passionate in my appreciation for music, to my great regret I have never been able to play a musical instrument. I call it “ear-hand” coordination–I’ve never quite been able to wrap my head around how the sounds are connected to what my hands are doing, if that makes any sense.

      Are you a musician, by any chance?

  3. Hadena James says:

    Each of my characters has a distinct voice in my head. And I am experiencing the same thing with Tortured Dreams. I’ve had a couple of people audition for the audiobook and they just weren’t “right”. First, the females can’t seem to satisfy what I want from the “male” voices. The guys can’t do the main character.

  4. cyelkoth5637 says:

    I think my characters are sort of vaguely heard in my head, but only as much as I describe them in the book. Like if a character speaks in clipped, crisp tones, I tend to hear them British. Or if they have a distinct dialect, sometimes they come off sounding Southern or like they’re from Boston. But because I write scifi, I don’t want specific “Earth-based” sounding voices to creep into my characters. Does that make sense?

    • MishaBurnett says:

      It does, and it brings up a tough issue in Sci-Fi–how to describe accents that aren’t of Earth origin. It’s almost as hard as inventing a new language.

      • cyelkoth5637 says:

        Agreed. I wish you the best of luck though with your pursuit of audio perfection. 🙂

        Have you invented a new language?

      • MishaBurnett says:

        I haven’t, myself, but I really enjoy books that contain invented languages. I tried writing a dictionary for the “Old Solar” that C S Lewis invented for his “Out Of The Silent Planet” trilogy (mostly, I’ll admit, so that when someone talks to me in Elvish I can reply in Old Solar) but Lewis doesn’t include that much in the language, and so there aren’t that many available words.

        I always wanted to, just to see if I could do it, and because I am fascinated by linguistics.

  5. Sue says:

    One of my new characters is from another world, not sci fic but fantasy, she’s a sort of fairy. I’ve determined that her accent is partly like Chinese and partly like Arabic. How to write that accent poses problems in syntax and word usage.

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