A Year of Voice Descriptions


Before December 11, 2006, I wouldn’t have thought to describe a character’s voice. Then along came Vocal Impressions on National Public Radio. Wow! It’s evocative to describe a character’s voice, and if you use a metaphor that also evokes a character quality, you’re even farther along!

Raw Voice + Apt Metaphor = Characterization

From the 10th installment of Vocal Impressions come these characterizations:

  • Ray Charles

    Listeners say the singer sounds like:

    • The voice of the maitre d’ who tells you to keep the $50 after putting you at the best table in the house — Brad Densmore
    • A ’64 Corvette tuned by an angel — Tim Hathaway
    • Honey on a bruise — Kristin Schade
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/27398485@N08/3086517536/

  • Lucille Ball
    Listeners say the comedienne sounds like:

    • The twinkle in a little girl’s eye when she finds her mother’s lipstick for the first time — Noelle Leiblic
    • A windup toy you just let loose — Laura Sysko
    • A velvet hammer soaked in henna rinse — Lynette Dupree
  • Harvey Fierstein
    Listeners say the actor sounds like:

    • The fuzzy dice on my pink Cadillac — Tim Klavon
    • A lion with an elegant fashion sense — Tim Hathaway
    • The voice of the killer in the horror movie — Catherine Zaegel
  • Cher

    Listeners say the singer sounds like:

    • A long, straight, vertical, blue, neon light — Martha Buyer
    • The entire cast of the Ice Capades winking at you — Jill Stearling
    • A really good sneeze — Leslie Abrahamson

Think about the differences in your character’s voices: the main characters, supporting characters, good characters v. bad characters, villains. Fictional characters will come alive as you start to “hear” them speaking.

Other Vocal Impressions on National Public Radio

Number Nine

Number Eight
Number Seven
Number Six
Number Five
Number Four
Number Three
Number Two
Number One

Read more in 15 Days to a Stronger Character