The Distinctive Language Dos and Don’ts section is extremely helpful. Smith cautions writers against using dialect, which can annoy readers and editors alike. He also offers examples of speech mannerism which can help create a distinctive identity.
In Nicole Beck’s article A Guide to Writing Realistic Dialogue in Fiction (associatedcontent.com), she recommends reading dialogue out loud. “To read aloud you create a detachment between your mind and the work. You’re able to edit with a little less bias. You hear what the reader reads.”
This is a technique I practice every week at my writers group — Novel Clique. It works. Sometimes things look fine in black and white on the page, but once you read it aloud, it becomes a three-dimensional thing. It’s easier to hear characters stray outside their voice, awkward dialogue and dialogue pacing.
How do you get into your character’s head to create a distinctive voice?