The main character’s attitude affects the voice of a story. Dialogue shows readers how the main character sensors herself in front of others. Narrative lets readers see what a character is really thinking. Those discrepancies help give voice to a story. It’s in the way characters respond to the world around them.
The movie Shawn of the Dead centers around a horrific event — people turning into zombies. Yet the main character’s response isn’t fear. That’s not Shawn’s disposition toward life, so the story has a lighter, comedic voice. Even though the main character in Forest Gump faces one challenge after another, he never has a defeatist attitude which lends a light, hopeful voice to the story.
My favorite method to find the voice of a new character is to ask them to finish this sentence:
“Life is like a box of chocolates…”
If you watched the “Forest Gump” clip or have seen the movie, you know his mother’s response is “you never know what you’re gonna get.” It reveals her don’t give up, no matter how hard things get disposition toward life.
Rena Moon, the main character in my novel Edge of Truth responds this way: “Life is like a box of chocolates, sharing makes them better even you never find another box.”
Lexi Ripley, the main character in my WIP Blink responds this way: “Life is like a box of chocolates, they’re delicious, but some of them bite.”
How would you characters finish the sentence “Life is like a box of chocolates, _______”?