I address this discussion primarily to members of BoL, but anyone may participate.
While writing and looking over that short Hlemmur blurb, I got to thinking about how we express character not only through what a person says but also through how they say it.
When I write a character like Hlemmur, I don’t consciously think about expressing their personality but I do hear a rhythm in my head which I try to match — a sort of music of speech that I try to graft words over.
This gives the dialogue and character an individual sort of feel, I think. All of Hlemmur’s dialogue can be broken down into certain types:
-stories or “bits” quoted from memory, like you see from a comedian trying to anchor sections of his set to an unrelated context such as a roast
-improvised Burroughsian “routines” or flights of fancy
-one liner witticisms based primarily on inversion
So, everything Hlemmur says is governed by oral tradition or oral performance rules. This leads to a lot of:
-stress on organic internal rhyme
-repetition and alliteration
Now, I don’t think about those things while writing the dialogue because I don’t want anything to seem forced. During editing I will try to sharpen them up or accentuate it, but I rarely add anything new because I don’t want it to lose the off-the-cuff/improvised feeling.
So, that’s me as an example, but I would like to hear what “tricks” YOU use to write a character’s dialogue in such a way as to express the character’s personality.