Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: character voice


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?

 by DiAnn Mills

Lies distort a character’s view of the world. The lens of reality twists the truth, causing the character to react in unforeseen ways, which is win-win situation for the writer. The result is an unpredictable and unexpected plotline fueled by a character who is motivated by a lie.

Have you ever believed a lie? The emotional ramifications can destroy us if we don’t muster the courage to explore the truth. Consider your character. With the personality, culture, and life experiences assigned to them, how does the writer weave a powerful story?

The character who learns he or she has been the victim of a lie faces the devastation of hurt, anger, and betrayal. The person who spoke the fabrication may deny it, and that becomes another issue for the character. To maintain good mental health, the character must reach deep for forgiveness and take cautionary steps for the future. The relationship may or may not ever be restored. Trust must be earned.

How the character responds to the realization of a lie shows the inner character and lays the foundation for a protagonist or an antagonist. The determination of a lie can motivate the character into a positive realm or a negative one.

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
Lies influence the character’s goals, wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, dialogue, behavior, and emotion. When rage drives the character’s actions, unpredictable behavior sets the stage for a page-turning story. Yet the process of weaving all the intricacies of literary techniques into a profound story takes hard work.

But what about the lies our characters accept about themselves? How does a character journey on an adventure when they hold a false outlook of life? Aren’t our characters supposed to embrace strength? How does that affect their decisions and motivate them into action when they accept a distorted truth destined to stop them from reaching their full potential?

Perhaps the problem with our character is not what the writer believes about them, but what the character believes about him- or herself.

Writers develop situations that force a character to face a lie. Those powerful drama-filled scenes move the story in exciting directions, often explaining how and why the falsehood entered the picture. Some characters do not have the courage to accept the truth and will never change their beliefs or values. They flee from scenarios that force them to examine their true selves. The result is a weak character who cowers to life happenings or becomes an antagonist who strikes out in rage.

The origin of a character’s misconception is often rooted in childhood. During the development years, physical, mental, and spiritual stimuli mold a child’s view of where he or she fits in the world and how to cope with life’s trials. Peer pressure and those who are respected can instill admirable or detestable behavior.

The character may believe
  • I have no choice but to be perfect.
  • Life isn’t fair.
  • I’ll never be happy unless I have lots of money.
  • Everyone is out to get me.
  • God’s love must be earned.
  • Without a face-lift and tummy tuck, I’ll never be beautiful.
  • Morals are a personal preference.
  • Laws are to be broken.
  • Relationships are fifty-fifty. Anything less and I’m out of here.
  • The only way for someone to love me is for me to take care of them.
The character may choose to believe
  • No human is perfect, but we strive to do our best. We make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward.
  • Life isn’t fair or easy, but challenges have the potential to grow us into better people.
  • Money buys what we need and sometimes what we want. It’s a vehicle to provide for ourselves and others. True happiness is internal.
  • Bad attitudes result from selfishness. Take steps to put others first in a healthy way.
  • God’s love is unconditional. We can’t do a thing to cause Him to love us more or less.
  • True beauty is an attitude of the heart and how we treat others.
  • Right vs. wrong behavior is established by spiritual and moral resources to show justice, equality, and love.
  • Laws are in force to protect us from danger and keep us safe.
  • Relationships are always 100 percent of what we can give, not what we can take.
  • Caring for others is admirable but caretaking is not the vehicle of self-worth.
For writers determined to create real and unforgettable characters, I encourage the following:
  • Study psychology books, reputable blog posts, and articles that focus on the behavior of one who experiences a lie.
  • Interview counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are trained professionals in human behavior.
  • Explore respected websites that focus on human behavior and counseling techniques. 
  • Stay alert to people and the world. Keep a journal of conflicting emotions that could have resulted from a lie.

When a writer discovers the source of what a character internalizes about him- or herself, the character must choose. Is he or she motivated to change? How does the process work? Will it be painful? Does the character grasp the courage to process the lie and step forward with truth? The result is an impressive novel certain to entertain and inspire readers.

About DiAnn

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers through her website at

About Concrete Evidence

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Releases October 4, 2022.


Please leave a comment for DiAnn for a chance to win a copy of Concrete Evidence.

*Giveaway courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers and is subject to giveaway terms and conditions of Seekerville and Tyndale House Publishers. US Mailing addresses only.

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard


Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard

Hi everyone, Sandra Orchard here. After a long hiatus from blogging, I’m delighted to be back celebrating the release of my 25th novel with a post about voice.

Boughs of Folly is my tenth cozy mystery written as part of multi-author sets. In such cases, maintaining authentic voices for characters, that are simultaneously being written about by other authors, carries unique challenges.

When my first novel released, a family member said she felt distracted while first reading it, because she heard my voice in her head. Thankfully, after a few scenes, my characters took on lives of their own for her, and she forgot about me. But her comment made me ever cognizant of the importance of ensuring the “voices” of my stories are true to the story being told.

So, how do we do that?

First let me clarify what I mean by “voice.” Voice can refer to:

1) An author’s unique style of storytelling that characterizes much of his or her work.
2) A particular story’s narrative voice—i.e. the voice in which the story is told. Or…
3) The characters’ actual voices spoken in dialogue.

The best advice I’ve heard with regards to developing #1 is to not try. Some say your distinctive voice will emerge the more you write. But be cautious about imitating others who you presume know more than you. I’ve observed, especially with newbies, that in our efforts to incorporate all the seemingly wonderful advice we receive from critiquers, we can quickly dilute or lose the fresh voice of our original piece. I suspect this is because when you’re passionate about a story and write with abandon, oblivious to ‘the rules’, your unique voice is given full rein. Editing, on the other hand, uses the left side of your brain and can alter it drastically.

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard
So, instead of searching for your voice (as per #1), I recommend mastering the art of point of view, to help you develop strong narrator and character voices.

Honing this skill has proven invaluable to me in writing multi-author continuities featuring the same main character, including for Boughs of Folly. Now in theory, the first lucky author of a continuity gets to set the tone the rest of us must mirror for each continuing character. And Boughs of Folly is book one in the Jingle Bells Mysteries set. However, the three-book bundle, features long-established characters from the realm of the Chocolate Shoppe Mysteries.

So, I acquainted myself with all the wonderful quirky characters by immersing myself in the original series. The stories are set in Georgia, but the series editor advised me that authors were urged to use a light touch when it came to “Southernisms.” My goal while reading was to know the characters so well, that I’d hear their voices in my head. To that end, I focused on the distinctive nuances of each continuing characters’ voice. These are the same sorts of nuances you can use to create characters that stand apart from each other.

Tip: Sitting in a crowded place, such as an airport or shopping mall, and listening to the conversations going on around you is a great way to discover fresh voices for your characters.

Ready to assess the voices in your stories?

Let’s evaluate your characters’ dialogue first:

Does it vary in sentence structure? Some people talk in long run-on sentences. Some talk in short, disjointed blips. How about vocabulary? Does one character use few words, while another exhibits verbal diarrhea? Do some characters use big words or technical jargon, while others use slang? Does your English professor use perfect diction? Or do you characterize your jock by having him be well read and speak with perfect diction? How about each character’s grammar? Does it vary?

Do characters share the same pet words? They shouldn’t. But this might be the chance for you to use all those adjectives and adverbs, you’ve been trained to replace with strong nouns and verbs. Because in dialogue, your flowery character can be as flowery in her language as you want. Just ensure she’s the only one who speaks that way. Unless of course your sarcastic character chooses to imitate her.

If you choose to give a character a unique dialect, avoid tricky spellings. Instead, show the dialect through word choice, word order and sentence construction etc.

Finally, notice what isn’t in the dialogue. What’s not being said, or the subtext of what’s said or done, often characterizes the reader far more than his or her actual dialogue. In other words, what counts isn’t what your character says, but the effect of what he meant.

If you’re writing a continuity, your editor’s input is invaluable in keeping characters’ voices consistent from one author to the next, and the continuity guidelines will likely determine who the narrator’s voice or voices will be.

Quick tips for Choosing your Narrator

Whether writing in first or third person, the character you choose to narrate the story (or scene) has a huge impact on your story’s tone. In my romantic suspense, where my hero and heroine take turns narrating scenes, I choose the character with the most to lose.

In addition to all the elements of voice discussed above, other elements also come into play in your narrator’s voice. For example, can the reader trust the narrator? Do his thoughts correspond with his speech and actions? Does she have a secret? Is he hiding a sin or regret or deep-seated fear? The more you flesh out your characters with flaws, fears, secrets etc., the more you can layer their emotions into the narrative, so the reader experiences them, too.

Most importantly, have fun getting into character!

Speaking of having fun…


I’m giving away 25 books as part of my 25th book celebration. Leave a comment or question about “voice” to throw your name into the hat for tomorrow’s draw for a copy of one of my earlier titles.

And…enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of 10 copies of Boughs of Folly.

And…stop by my blog to see the free E books and special price promos my publishers are offering as part of my celebration. (current limited time offers—Deadly Devotion is free & Identity Withheld, a Love Inspired Suspense, is $1.99 )


Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard
Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, keep-you-guessing stories with a generous dash of sweet romance. Touted by Midwest Book Reviews as “a true master of the [mystery] genre,” Sandra celebrates the publication of her 25th novel in 2022. She writes for Love Inspired Suspense, Revell and Annie’s Fiction. And her novels have garnered numerous awards. From Niagara Canada, when not dreaming up fictional characters, Sandra spends most of her time playing with the characters in her real life—aka her little grandchildren.

Connect with Sandra at: website | Facebook | Amazon

About Boughs of Folly:

Jillian Green’s holiday cheer nosedives when her great aunt’s friend, Herbert, is killed while helping them decorate for a fundraiser. But the case is more tangled than a strand of twinkle lights, and if Jillian can’t uncover the killer, Herbert’s night might not be the only one silenced this Christmas.

Boughs of Folly is part of a three-book Jingle Bells Mysteries bundle, releasing June 25, 2022, and sold exclusively by Annie’s Fiction

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard

Don't forget to enter to win a copy of one of Sandra's earlier titles by leaving a comment or question about 'voice' below!

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard

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