– Character Voice

1. How distinctive is your character’s voice? How did you develop it? Fanny / Faelyn is very distinctive, very feminine, but resonates in the lower register as far as women’s voices go. I wish I could say that I developed her voice, but actually she came as part of the personal spiritual practice that I have of listening to one’s own ancestors, which makes her entirely different from the other characters that I write. I have said repeatedly that I am her scribe and take dictation for her. Fanny’s daughters, as fond of them as I might be, are regretfully merely characters; Fanny herself is not. I cannot force her to go any direction she does not want to go. She has a very distinctive and underlying Scot’s brogue that if she concentrates, she can minimize to where you don’t really notice it. And she has this incredible habit of being very formal in her speech. She never uses contractions in a sentence – unless she is flustered or upset. To her, saying words ending in “n’t” is lazy and improper. I have been corrected numerous times for shortening things that way. You get the impression that her speech is very measured and deliberate a great deal of the time. It isn’t to the point of sounding unnatural, but the listener very early on comes to the realisation that Fanny is careful in what she says and how she says it.

2. Does your character have a regional accent? How do depict this in text?

She was born in Scotland so there is a bit of a burr in her speech. When illustrating this, I just sound out the words, and phoneticise them. This is a practice I am used to, having had to do it with one of my other characters, Sekhmet Merytamun, who speaks New Kingdom Ancient Egyptian, which of course is a dead language. She used to say, “Aye,” a great deal more than she does now. I think that came from being acutely aware of how she sounds to those who hear her voice.

3. Any affectations of speech? How did he/she develop them?

Fanny / Faelyn has worked very hard to sound less foreign while she lived in France among her husband’s people. She understands quite well what the Power of the voice can render in the world and she only ever loses that focus when she is extremely angry or distraught. She is very correct and extremely graceful and gracious. She needs these things as a sovereign. She also knows that when she raises her voice, it is to punctuate and it is rare enough that it grabs the attention of the listener. She got a great deal of flack when she first came to the French Court as being, “that foreign woman with the dreadful accent.” It took a great deal of effort on her part to speak French as well as she does. Even with her education, which included several languages including French, she didn’t really gain fluency in pronunciation and diction until she lived there for a time.

4. Does your character tend to speak quietly, or loudly? Sharply, or melodically? In a monotone, or with dramatic flair?

She is very deliberate and articulate, keeping her voice at a pleasing volume. It has been described by her husband as not only melodious, but soothing. I think Faelyn believes this is a Fae trait and she plays it to the hilt. Even her best friend, Hsu Danmei, who is affectionately often referred to by his own scribe and the scribes of the characters he is surrounded by as “Mr. Grumpy”, can often be disarmed by her – sometimes rather against his will. *g* And at other times he bellows and she will not raise her voice in return but keeps it right where it was before his outburst – or even lower. She does this quite often with her husband, too. It almost always works for her. She will very rarely if ever swear. If she does, it is to use the word, ‘bloody’ – or on the extremely rare occasion, will drop the “F” bomb. But this word is used by her so infrequently that I can, after nearly eight to ten years I have been taking dictation from Fanny, count all the times that I have dictated that word from her on one hand. I have other muses, Sands, for example. who use it in just about every third sentence!

5. Are there circumstances in which your character has difficulty speaking? Any speech impediments?

The only things that really make her lose her power of speech is her incredible fear of rats. Other than that, going to a very heavy Scot’s brogue that when she gets going full-tilt, is very difficult to understand her, she has no impediments to speak of.

6. Are there certain circumstances / or certain people to whom your character speaks that make that character’s voice change?

Her husband, Sebastien, her best friend, Hsu and her paramours at times will make her voice go lower, huskier. Again, she understands quite clearly the power that the voice has and she uses it. It is a very conscious effort on her part.

7. What emotional circumstances make your character’s voice change, and how does it change during those circumstances?

It changes when she is concentrating on what she is saying, focusing on the effect that her voice has on those she speaks to. She definitely speaks differently on the phone, for example, to someone like her husband, or Hsu, both of whom are very important men in her life. When she was interacting with Gil Grissom (grissom_tm) she was very reverent and very gentle and did far more listening than she did talking. She would constantly ask him questions to draw him out – which is something that she knows that diplomats do; that constant probing and attention to really get inside of the head of the other person. Grissom fascinates her in that she never quite knows what he is thinking because his brain is just so off the charts and just a bit different than other people. That is not to say that Sebastien and Hsu are not also brilliant and geniuses in their own right, it is just that he completely not like anyone else, and I think part of how she speaks to him is really as if she is studying shim with a rapt attention.

8. How did your character’s parentage / ethnicity/ childhood affect his/her speech patterns?

It’s kind of hard to get over a Scottish brogue. It is one of those things that will always have some hint of itself no matter how hard you try to erase it. This also lends itself in the Sidhe dialects which are quite similar in some aspects to Gaelic, Welsh and the like.

9.Did he/she overcome, or change the speaking habits he/she had earlier in life?

Somewhat, through practice and focus, but there will always be that hint of it in there somewhere, no matter how hard she tries to erase it completely.

10. Does your character’s manner of speaking display education or the lack thereof? Formality, or informality? What traits show when he/she is speaking? Faelyn is several hundred years ago, so she is extremely educated. She reads and writes constantly, she interacts with others and is not afraid to show her intelligence. She is very resentful of the idea that if a woman is relatively attractive, she must therefore also be stupid and not have a mind capable of grasping the complex. She gets quite annoyed that there are those who feel that somehow by virtue of her sex she should take up embroidery rather than the arts, sciences or philosophy. Words cannot describe how much Fanny hates embroidery with an absolute passion and she has said so quite often! To her it is a symbol of the idea, “pretty yet ever-so vapid.” Having been educated on the Fortunate Island, she has a very strong knowledge of literature, botany, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy etc. and she is an avid chess player. She is an apt horsewoman and knows falconry well enough that she could hold an intelligent conversation with any man about either subject and hold her own, much to the surprise of the men. Being Immortal, she feels that keeping her brain active and up to date and informed is the cornerstone of Power.

Bonus points: Write a monologue or dialogue that illustrates your character’s voice.

This is from a very early part of my writing this Muse and is a very clear demonstration of Fanny’s Scots brogue.

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