How Would You Describe Someone’s Voice When They Are Drunk?

When a character in a novel or a script drinks too much, the effects of the alcohol will often be apparent in their voice and speech. It’s not always easy to depict this accurately in writing though, so here are some tips on how to describe someone’s voice when they’re drunk.

Characteristics of a Drunk Voice

Typically, a person’s voice undergoes certain changes when they are intoxicated:

  • Slurred Speech: Words often become mushy and indistinct, as the drinker struggles to articulate properly.
  • Changed Tone: The person’s voice might become louder or more boisterous, and the tone could change, with the speaker either sounding more confident or becoming more aggressive.
  • Mispronunciation: The person might start to mix up the order of words or even say completely the wrong word.
  • Exaggerated Emotion : The tone of voice might reveal exaggerated emotions like over-the-top enthusiasm or debilitating sadness.

Contextual Clues

Showing, not telling, is a golden rule in writing. This is especially true when you’re trying to describe a character’s drunkenness.

  • Repetition: A drunk character might repeat the same phrase or idea over and over.
  • Fluctuating Volume: The volume of their voice can fluctuate, sometimes without the person noticing.
  • Uncharacteristic Outbursts: They might side with risky ideas or make unguarded remarks, losing their usual social filter.

Physical Signs and Behavioral Cues

Beyond the voice, other physical and behavioral attributes can serve as additional clues to a character’s drunkenness.

  • Unsteady Footing: Drunken characters may lose their balance or stumble.
  • Exaggerated Gestures: Alcohol impairment can cause their gestures to become more pronounced and sweeping.
  • Facial Expression: Look for exaggerated facial expressions and an overly relaxed or slack mouth.
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Describing a character’s drunken voice convincingly requires a mix of vocal, behavioral, and physical cues. Understand what alcohol does to speech and overall demeanor, but remember to keep the characteristics true to the character’s personality. With these tools, you should be able to accurately and reliably describe a character’s drunk voice. Good luck with your writing!

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