You know what’s great about people? We’re all different. How I say things is totally different from how my husband does, which is totally different from how my mom would, which is totally different from how my two year old would. Why? We’re different people. We have different language patterns, different brains, and different life experience.
Moreover, if you put me in a room with these people, the way I stand—perhaps swaying as if I’m holding a baby (even though I might not be)—is different from my husband who might be stretching, or my mom who might be talking with her hands, or my two year old who… well… has an inability to stand still.
People are different. When you write about your characters, allow them to be distinctive. All shouldn’t wink at each other when they say something clever; they shouldn’t all gesture with their hands, nor sigh heavily, nor twirl their dark mustaches menacingly (okay, maybe you weren’t using that last one for everyone). When writing falls into a pattern, you see the author’s personality, not the characters’. And the author should be the invisible hand that guides the story, not the center focus, right?
Think about body language differences, speech patterns, and movements between personalities. Everyone has their own mannerisms, nervous ticks, excited habits, angry habits, etc. This is a great way to tell more about your characters, while showing their different emotions. (Yep, there’s that show vs. tell note again). It takes some practice, but it makes for better writing.
***The attentive reader has noted that I’ve been talking fiction for the past few weeks. There’s a reason, which you’ll learn next week!***