From the book, Finding Your Writer’s Voice, with the TIL entries on that starting here.
Chapter 10 – Public and Private Voices
Children take time to learn not to simply tell the stories in their heads out loud, and will wander around making up tales, talking to their toys, etc. Practice saying your inner thoughts aloud (alone is fine!) and see if that frees up your voice.
Chapter 11 – The Sound of Colloquial Voice
A relaxed, informal voice of everyday conversation – you’ll probably not even remember what you say, never mind how you say it! Colloquial voice has vitally, gets straight to the point, and puts the reader at ease. However, watch out for ‘common knowledge’ assumptions that often don’t translate well to the page.
Often, trying to avoid the colloquial voice to sound more literary leaves writing dry and hollow. What you’re aiming for is a blend of the two: a polished version of your speaking voice. This takes practice.
Listening to how people – yourself included – speak is a great tool in developing dialogue.
Chapter 12 – The Chorus of Voice
You might be surprised to find your inner voice is actually a whole host of voices. Some of these can be enticed to tell their stories, others will fizzle out. There is always the danger, too, that the voice is ‘borrowed’ from somewhere else.
Like opening Pandora’s box, you should let all of these characters free. Often those that seem most untrustworthy will have the biggest potential. Become their scribe, give them a notebook. Set them in impossible situations, adorned in outlandish costumes. Milk them for all they’re worth.
The exercises involve ‘discovering’ some of the voices that speak up inside, and imagining various circumstances: e.g., giving them a lot of money, sending it on a secret mission, giving it a job interview, or just letting it ramble on about a hobby.