Your Fictional Character Has an Education
Your fictional character has an education you might not have taken into consideration. This is true whether your character is a farm girl from the 1700s or a swordsman in a fictional realm. Life includes education. That farm girl learned to cook from her mother and her parents’ education shaped her knowledge. The swordsman in a fictional land had to learn his craft somewhere. Can he read? Is he a simple peasant who became a soldier or is he a nobleman? You should make a decision about your characters’ education. Once you have this idea down, you can then craft they way your character speaks with much more finesse.
Education Shapes Fictional Character Vocabularies
When creating characters, it is important that you make them sound different from one another. If they all have the same voice, readers might get bored. Readers could also wind up confusing the characters. Each character should have a unique voice. One way to achieve that goal is to limit their vocabulary. You can craft their voice by carefully monitoring their choice of words. If you want to show that one character is smarter than another, don’t let the character of lesser intelligence use bigger words. You might allow only the smartest of your fictional characters to make use of your full vocabulary. Your reader will probably not recognize this technique on the surface, but the flavor of the characters’ intelligence will translate through their choice of words.
Fictional Character Vocabularies Tell A Lot
Let a snide character use words that tell of an imagined intellectual superiority. Have simple characters use words that speak of humility. Your choice of your character words will give them a depth they will lack if you let them speak without vocabulary limits. Try crafting their speech with their education and attitudes in mind and you might find they take on more realism than even you anticipated.