1. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Time Travelling Dialogue

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sweetchaos, Mar 19, 2009.

    I'm currently working on a story where a girl is shipwrecked on an island. The island she ends up on is unknown to the rest of the world. However, it is the size of Hawaii which is very large. In order for my island to stay hidden from satelites, I need to turn back the clock to a time when there were none. I'm thinking sometime in the 20's.

    Now, Lita starts the story off on the island, and never actually returns to the outside world, so we never encounter the world of the 20's.

    My strength in my writing is in my dialogue. It's where I do my best work. However, if I were to adjust my style to account for the change if dialect, to change it to the lingo of the 20's, my writing would suffer greatly.

    My question to you, does it bother you to read a novel, knowing full well the date it takes place, with dialogue that belongs in present day? You should also know that I tend not to use current slang heavily. Just the usual things like "awesome", "cool", etc.

    Would you rather I had her speak according to the times, or is it enough that her character and personality are true to her time period?
     
  2. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    It would annoy me but I find I'm more pedantic than alot of people. I'm no writer but I advise you to try and stick to the slang of the day, even if the normal dialogue is present day. Try saying a man is "dashing" instead of "hot."

    Probably not what you want to hear but you asked :D Good luck with your venture.
     
  3. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Well, I would try to keep it as true as I can, as in the case of "dashing" or the like. I guess it won't be that much of a change. I would just have to make her come off as more formal than anything. I'm just worried my writing will suffer. My strength in dialogue comes fromt he ability to make the speaking flow, easy and laid back like the characters. I'll just have to learn how to be stiff. HAHA.

    "Mr. Hadad! Well, I never!" sorta deal.
    -sigh-
     
  4. Aeroflot
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    Aeroflot Senior Member

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    Just watch movies like The Great Gatsby or others set in the 20s. Alternatively you could read the books, but movies are faster and I think the dialogue comes across better.
     
  5. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    Pretend you're British :D

    Don't worry so much about the dialogue as you're writing it. Just go back a couple of hours (or the next day) and look at the dialogue you've just written and see if you think it's the style of the '20s. Otherwise, you will be too conscious of it while writing, and that will be when your writing starts to suffer. IMO anyways.
     
  6. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    HAHA

    Thanks for the tips. I was thinking of just writing as if I would write any other story and change it all in editing, but that would be a huge undertaking. I'll research it a bit, find out how they talked and try to incorporate it as much as I can without mkaing abig deal about it.

    Thanks again :)
     
  7. Bongo Mongo
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    Bongo Mongo Member

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    Unless it is super important that nobody ever finds the island, I don't think you even need to set back in time. I just watched lost, it's a present day show and people on lost on an island. They get away with it.

    Also about the Dialogue, it would probably annoy kids, but if this is a more mature and serious book I don't think it matters.
     
  8. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Actually, Lost is hidden from satelites thanks to something very powerful and connections with higher ups. There's a reason no one finds the island. And in fact, people not finding the island is like the main problem of the entire show. So I think keeping the island hidden is very important. Not to mention, with the origins I've decided, this island had to go 2000 yrs without being found. So being hidden is a big problem.

    But, yeah, I think I'm gonna go ahead and change the dialogue afterall. I'll take it as a learnign experience. Editing can fix problems that occur.

    Thanks though :)
     
  9. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    Why don't you stick to formal British English?? I'm pretty sure it's not changed all that much? Or alternatively, you could just write normally, and when you're revising, look up the old terms for some of the words that are too balantly todayish.

    Ignore me if I got the wrong idea.
     
  10. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    As long as you don't use anything superglaringly anachronistic, I don't think it matters too much so long as you are consistent. It is arguably better to research 1920s (i.e. read a few period novels) dialogue and follow that as accurately as you can.

    However, if you use modern speech all the time consistently, I don't think it's going to annoy any but the purists. If you mix and match (mostly 1920s with some modernisms or vice versa) that's not going to work unless you're writing in a pratchetesque comic style.
     
  11. Adelaide
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    I don't know. It would really annoy me if I was reading a book set in the 20's and the main character was saying "cool" and "awesome." I don't consider myself a purist, just someone who looks for accuracy when reading something set in the past. Maybe I am a purist. But you wouldn't have someone in a story set in the 1800's say "cool," so I don't see why you the rules change just because it's 80 years ago instead of two hundred. If your main character is a girl, I suggest you read some of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories like "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." It might give you an idea of how teenagers might have spoken (though probably not quite as eloquently as Fitzgerald writes) in that time.
     
  12. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    When I said "cool" and "awesome" I didn't actually mean I would use them. I'm just saying that's the most that makes it into my stories anywhere else. I think I will go with research a bit and do what I can to make it sound like she's from the 20's. This is, however, the first draft, so I'm not too worried about it at the moment. I will definitely have to change some back story on her. I may even move her up to the 40's or 50's. I really only need to be pre-satelites.

    Yes, Banzai, I'm aware you guys don't actually sound like that. I wasn't taking those comments seriously. LOL
     
  13. Addicted2aa
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    Addicted2aa Senior Member

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    I think it doesn't really matter except for glaring errors. For example, I don't want to hear Elvis say "wat up dawg?" At the same time though you want your book to relate to readers, so while in the forties they swore alot less and they said things like "neato" and "hot dog" I don't think you should try to write like that. No one speaks like that anymore and it will sound forced and awkward, even if you use it right. Try to translate what they as best you can and avoid slang from any time.
     
  14. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I highly doubt I would have used any slang at all. I hardly use it now. Besides, I think it would seem really out of place with my style of narrative writing as well. Though, I already have to adjust my style of writing for two different characters (i'm trying my hand at head hopping - only two characters and it's one head per scene if not chapter)

    Thanks for all your help guys! It's been really helpful.
     

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