Character Impersonation – 5 Tips To Editing A POV Character’s Flavor In A Novel

Moms learn to identify their kids voices from the time they are little. It almost takes a mouth full of peanut butter to stand in the way. 

No matter how many times my kids try to fool me, it is quite difficult. Why? Because they each have a unique way of talking. Is it just the words themselves? The tone? The sentence length?

All of the above.

Just like we know our kids by their voices, we want our readers to know our characters by their unique Point of View Flavor. It should come through in each scene so much that your characters could never be accused of being vanilla.

Check out this clip from The Reluctant Astronaut with Don Knotts. Think of how this story would be told on the page from Arbuckle versus Roy’s Point of View.

5 Tips To Editing A Point Of View Character’s Flavor In Your Novel:

*Read your character interview or pre-writing work before editing their POV scenes. Ask yourself, is this the way they would see the world and talk with others?

*Read all of one POV Character’s Scenes from the beginning to the end of the novel to see if they sound like the same person. Each POV character should be unique in the way they speak, describe and think about their world.

*Check that the setting description matches the person’s head we are inside of for the scene. Gender and age both greatly influence what a character will notice in a scene. Consider this when checking to see if they mesh.

*Check that the character’s dialogue matches their values, education level and societal influence. Did your character go to Harvard or barely graduate from high school? They will talk about what matters to them in a way that reflects their upbringing.

Check out this clip from My Fair Lady:

*Check that their personal struggles are reflected in their inner thoughts. A character who struggles with self-esteem will think differently about themselves than the character who is full of pride. 

Characters have a way of staying with us when they are unique, just like the examples we saw here. Who are your favorite characters of all time?

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About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

6 thoughts on “Character Impersonation – 5 Tips To Editing A POV Character’s Flavor In A Novel

  1. Don Knotts was one of my favorite characters. He epitomized the inner struggle we all have with who we are. On a newer note, I love Jude Law as Watson, even more than the Sherlock character.

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    I remembered the “Reluctant Astronaut” and “Apple Dumpling Gang” from when I was a girl. They always made me smile. And what girl doesn’t love “My Fair Lady.”

  3. jeannemt says:

    Just saw your post, Michelle. So wonderful! The movie clips help too. 🙂 I’ve been trying to edit my character’s in this read through of my wip, and did it blind. I’m going to go back through it and use your tips. Thanks for sharing them.

    BTW, loved Apple Dumpling Gang, even though I’m a bit older than you and Melissa. 🙂 We showed it to our kiddos.

  4. Michelle Lim says:

    Glad the tips are helpful. Apple Dumpling gang was awesome! Love it.

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