1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Onomatopoeia and accents - too comic booky? Too annoying?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, May 26, 2012.

    When I did the first draft of my futuristic novel , to show the difference in both characters main ( poor low class ) and pseudo-villain - ( wealthy )
    I had the low class character talking in some slangy speech, misspelling everything - They became - Dey - I like you became - Eyhs likes youse. I didn't particulairly like it as sometimes , even now re-reading it - I'm not sure what the hell he's saying. I re-wrote it but he doesn't really come across as too different from the rich. I'm thinking of tossing back in his onomatopoeia huff of Oask! Anyone else have this problem? Have they ever ever solved it?
     
  2. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    i wouldn't spell the words differently but you could create a couple of weird expressions that only they use.
     
  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Using "Dey" for "They" isn't too bad because in context it's obvious what the word is. "Eyhs likes youse" is just horrible. It would probably be better off to refer to the accent in that case when it first comes up so that the reader knows they sound different, but then otherwise say the dialogue in regular words.
     
  4. Oko
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    Oko Member

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    Yeah, I wouldn't use accent. I think that manner of speaking can be a good way to define the characters.

    Wealthy character: How do you do, Madam?
    Lovable lower class character: Hey, how's it goin' missus Franley?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd strongly recommend against the accent/onomatopoeia and instead create a difference in word choice and usage. This will unfortunately be a whole lot more work - you might have to do some research on dialects - but I think it'll be much more effective. If you don't feel that you have the time to invest in the research, then I'd recommend just not doing the speech difference. Or you could make the difference reflect attitude rather than constructing your own dialect. You could show confidence in the upper class versus deferential caution in the lower class when they speak to the upper class, for example.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Sounds good guys , thanks for the advice!
     
  7. Akyra
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    Akyra New Member

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    I agree with everyone else, misspelling is horrible. Especially for people whose first language isn't English. Plus it usually detracts from the story and it's cringe-inducing. Unless your story is some sort of parody I would really advise you not to do that. What you can do is what Oko suggested, and also mention the difference in speech pattern when the character is first introduced (but only mention it that one time and then let the different speech patterns do their work).
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Write dialect, not accents. Misspelled words and phonetic rendering of accents is the equivalent of making the reader slog through knee deep mud and muck.

    Dialect is word choice and ordering to indicate regional or local speech patterns.

    You can get away with some phoneticisms, especially often used ones like the underlined ones in "Fer Lawd's sake, chile, you do go on!" But don't overuse them. A little truly goes a long way.
     

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