The human voice is incredibly versatile. The way we speak says a lot about our physical, mental, and emotional state, and even the slightest change in tone can convey a wide variety of meanings and interpretations.
Some people speak loud and boomy, while other voices are brittle or scratchy.
A soft voice is a muffled voice. High-pitched voices are loud and annoying. Each adjective adds a quality to the speaker that influences our understanding and feelings about it.
This article will explore ways to describe a voice.
Since we can't hear the sound of a voice in literature, the writer's job is to create that quality of sound in the minds of readers.
Proper use of adjectives and even verbs in dialogue tags helps the reader listen to the characters and allows for greater immersion in the story.
Why is it essential to describe a voice?
As a writer, how do you describe acharacter's voice, both in general and in a particular moment, helps to convey something important to the reader.
It informs the reader about the character's emotional state, thoughts, or reactions to the environment. You can also offer information about that character's personality or background.
As such, it is crucial to develop a large vocabulary when describing voices. The more specifically you can define a voice, the more opportunities you have to define the essence of a scene or moment, captivating your readers and thus making you a better writer.
“Make sure you don't talk about your hero's mood. Make that clear with your actions.”Anton Chekhov
this quote fromAnton Chekhovhighlights the importance of a good character description. Sometimes writers get lost in describing a character's inner world and distract readers from the plot.
A good description of a character's voice allows writers to portray an entire inner state through a single verb or adjective.
If a character is said to cry during his speech- "I want to go home!" the child yelled at his mother-so we know how the character feels.
If someone speaks out loud, we know they think they have something important to say.
Ways to describe a voice.
Describing a character's voice well is an essential skill inwrite characters.
A well described voice helps the reader to develop an image and an opinion about a particular character. This image/idea/opinion is supported by other types of character descriptions, such as posture and height, fashion style, physical appearance, and personality traits.
Voice adds more complexity to a character's description because the voice can change in a second, and even small changes in the quality or tone of someone's voice can help a writer develop and progress a scene or a relationship between them. characters.
Words to describe the tone of voice.
Writers often use adjectives to describe a character's tone or the quality of addiction. A voice can also be described with a verb, where the verb is used in a dialogue tag.
Below is a list of adjectives writers often use to describe tones of voice. Then we'll look at common dialog tags for voice descriptions.
An adenoid/nasal voice sounds like it's coming through the nose, as if that's where the breath in that voice tends to go.
Usually, a nasal voice sounds annoying, so these voices are assigned to annoying or overbearing characters, like Janice on Friends or SpongeBob SquarePants.
A breathy voice sounds like there is more air than the voice in the person's speech. A person out of breath from exercise or other physical exertion may sound breathless.
Someone with the aim of seduction may also speak in a breathless tone. A writer might use the term wheezing to describe someone who speaks with loud breath noises.
A fragile voice is weak and quiet, making it sound as if the speaker is about to cry.
Someone trying to hold back tears can speak with a fragile voice.
"Her voice was brittle and weak, and everyone knew she was about to cry."
A hoarse voice is broken and weak. If someone's voice sounds hoarse, they may be sick or dehydrated. They may feel emotionally small or insignificant. Nervousness and shyness can result in a hoarse voice.
A disembodied voice does not come from a person, but from an unknown or invisible source. For example, a character may be hearing the disembodied voice of a ghost, or may be experiencing an auditory hallucination.
If someone's voice is flat, keep the same intonation throughout the sentence. Their tone does not rise or fall and they do not emphasize words. A person in shock or particularly sad may speak in a monotone.
An enthusiastic voice is full of energy and optimistic in attitude. We know that an enthusiastically speaking character is excited or passionate about something.
An annoying/unpleasant voice often heard by a character who is irritated with themselves.
A deep voice sounds low and gruff and is usually spoken by older male characters.
A low voice in which the sound comes from the back of the throat.
A hoarse voice is a rough or raspy voice that may have been caused by excessive shouting, physical exertion, or dehydration.
The sweet voice sounds sweet, soft and pleasant to listen to. A character pretending to be nice may adopt a sweet tone of voice to fool the other.
The hoarse voice is usually hoarse but controlled, deep and low, and is generally considered attractive. Harsh vocals often find their place in intimately charged or romantic moments or to describe an engaging character.
A modulated voice is calm and controlled. It can contain various tones and intonations, but these are under the full control of the speaker and are used with intent.
A hoarse voice is loud and scratchy, forced or strained, rather than smooth or flowing. You may hear high-pitched voices at a loud party.
A high pitched voice is high pitched and unpleasant to listen to. It is ubiquitous and is usually attributed to irritating or antagonistic characters.
A singing voice is musical. It goes up and down nicely and generally conveys a positive, happy, or uplifted state.
18. Smooth Talker
A soft voice is a soft voice. Soft voices are usually loving, compassionate, and pleasant to listen to.
A character who cares for another can address him in a low voice. Likewise, a quiet and shy character can also be soft-spoken.
Soft-spoken voices sometimes come from soft-spoken characters or can be used to refer to a character in an instance using a very soft voice.
A booming voice sounds loud, booming, and typically authoritative. The term can describe a person or speak in a high tone. A frustrated teacher might adopt a booming voice to bring order to an unruly classroom.
Describing speech with dialog labels
Some of these adjectives can be used as verbs in a dialog tag.
A dialogue tag is a part of a sentence that accompanies a part ofdialogueand informs the reader of the speaker and how he spoke. For example: "Are we there yet?" the children cried. 'It won't be long...', the mother answered with a sweet voice.
You can say a character with a hoarse voice 'croak' or with a harsh voice 'chirp'.
We often use verbs to describe voice when the character's voice doesn't always have that quality, but now does in relation to what's going on in and around them.
For example, if someone squawks with their voice, they may be extremely dehydrated. ("Water water!" the man growled.) To use an adjective, we can say that “the voice of the dehydrated man was hoarse”.
The above list is not exhaustive, so you won't find every possible way to describe a voice here; These are just some examples.
However, try to avoid complacency when describing your characters. If a character has a specific tone of voice, but you don't know the term to describe it, go the extra mile to find it.
Look up similar words you know on Google and search for synonyms. It may only take a minute or two to find the most accurate term, and that search will pay off when your story reaches the reader.
The more you can offer the reader a well portrayed character or a well conveyed moment, the better the story will be told and the more appreciated you will be as a writer.