One of the greatest stumbling blocks to all writers—having the same sounding voice for all the characters. But first let me address the issue of why this is so common to all writers.
I firmly believe the writer is all of the characters, and the dialogue the characters speak is really the author's voice and what he or she wants to say through them. This is all well and good if writers are able to reveal who they are, but the problem occurs when writers use only the one voice and are afraid to reach inside to all the different voices.
I've encountered this dialogue problem in every writing class. Most writers can't get their characters to sound original with their own strong voice because writers can't connect to all of their own voices. This makes all the major characters end up sounding the same, and usually they all sound like the voice of the writer.
This is such a pervasive problem that I'm presently working with writers individually and in groups to specifically target this issue. Recently, I worked with a successful screenwriter with many produced credits, who was under contract to write her first feature.
When she turned in her screenplay the reception to it was negative, the major complaint being that every character in her screenplay sounded exactly like the main character—dull and boring. She finally overcame her screenplay problem by working on the voices from inside her and letting them come out and express themselves.
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