First Samuel three is the familiar story of God calling to Samuel. But, Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice. Scripture says in the seventh verse that Samuel “did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” The third time God calls, Eli wisely tells the boy to answer: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel had to learn to discern God’s voice. After this experience with the Lord, Samuel knew when Eli spoke and when God spoke. But, he first had to be introduced to God’s voice.
This is true in writing. As authors, we must make sure not all of our characters sound alike. We must create distinctive voices so our readers recognize and connect a character’s dialogue with that character. Look at the dialogue in your work in progress. Are there distinguishing characteristics that signal which character is speaking? Simply using a certain pet word or phrase can bring distinction to a character. Some characters may speak in short, choppy phrases while others may be wordy.
Choose a specific area of dialogue in your manuscript. Try to incorporate some distinguishing characteristic to a character’s dialogue and see if it makes that character stronger as well as more recognizable and individual.
As Christians, we need to insure that God’s voice is recognizable. The best way to know His distinctive voice is to study His Word and pray. Remember, He will not contradict what He has said in the Bible so when Satan tries to mimic and trick you, don’t be fooled.
As Christian writers, we are responsible for making sure that we don’t contradict God’s voice but represent it rightfully and faithfully.
Extended exercise: For a little more study in distinctive voices, pay attention to dialogue around you or on television. Look for those distinguishing qualities in a person’s speech then make note of it so you can use it in your writing.