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I am writing a story that has ten main characters, each chapter is a progression of the story but from the perspective of one of the ten.

As you can imagine, this presents it's own unique challenges, which I'm looking forward to overcoming. To differentiate between each of the ten characters, I obviously need to give each character their own, distinct personality, along with a number of traits that identify each character from another.

As each character is explored through their own perspective, would it be advisable to mould the writing style to suit the character's personality?

John:

He placed the broom against the back of the door. He liked it there. He felt safe. Calm.

Mary:

John was such a weirdo; sometimes Mary would wish he would just disappear and leave them all alone. His weirdo ways, his weirdo OCD, his weirdo... face.

Granted the above are just hugely trivial examples, but as you can see, I've tried to give each part, from each perspective, it's own 'voice'. John is very formal, set in his ways, and so his perspectives are constructed primarily of short, directed sentences. With Mary, the ditzy blonde, some of her vocabulary even seeps into the narrative - 'weirdo', and her ability - or lack thereof - to quip at John's expense.

My question is: is this type of practice advisable, and if so, how deep does the rabbit-hole go?

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I use this scale:

  1. all the characters sound like the author
  2. nice tight writing, some of the characters sound similar
  3. nothing needs added, nothing needs taken away
  4. rich, full characters; might be a little wordy
  5. wonderful dialog, where's the plot?

Aim for three settle for two or four. Avoid one and five unless you want to prove that you are good enough to break rules.

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  • Perfect answer. I'd like to add that the answer to the question will be a matter of personal taste (on the part of both readers and author). Some enjoy this, others enjoy something else. So there is no hard and fast rule. And that is good, because it would be awful if all books sounded the same. Dare to develop your own style! – user5645 Feb 12 '15 at 9:16
  • I think my present state is around 4 - thanks for this, it helps. – Dan Hanly Feb 12 '15 at 16:01
  • @DanHanly, then don't worry unless your test readers (you do have test readers?) says you are too wordy. – hildred Feb 12 '15 at 16:22

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