1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Writing dialogue without accents.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Link the Writer, Jan 19, 2011.

    By accents, I mean something like this.

    "Eh, 'tis only temp'rary, my boy. You'll know when th' day comes."

    How do you write dialogue without it and yet make it sound like the person's own voice instead of the voice of the narrator?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Maybe with their use of words? One of them could have simple vocab and another person more advanced vocab?
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a dialogue box for each main character and some major minor characters that contains words they would use that I wouldn't naturally choose, I try to get at least one or two into each piece of dialogue.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I have considered that. The way they talk and act could make it clear who's who. It's just that when I'm writing it, they all sound the same, whether they're just talking, yelling, whatever.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    How many thousand words in are you ? I find it takes at least 10K or so into my book's first draft to get good varied characters - it takes me time to know them and time for them to know each other. Part of it isn't the actual words its the dialogue beats that help, the actions and facial expressions.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I just started the book. :> Only 214 words in.

    Speaking of accented like the sentence I wrote in the OP, is there a certain pattern or rule or can I have a character that says "temp'rary" and the like?
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    not sure there is a rule I am keeping my Gran character's accent it is part of her. Would be distracting if all your characters spoke like that.

    I wouldn't worry you are to early in to have a well formed character you know how to handle.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That's just unique to just one character. Everyone else speaks better.

    I have a general sense of how each character talks, though.
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me its not just the talking though it is the nuances - how they would react to a situation, how they move etc, all of it impacts on dialogue.
     
  10. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    Using accent and dialect is quite tricky. It's best to use it sparingly unless you have a very good ear for it. The danger is in being inconsistant and jarring the reader. Individuality in character dialogue can be achieved by the use of slang (perhaps one of your characters consistantly uses the phrase "ya' know?"), or word selection (a character might always choose to use big words).

    The words they use is a result of who they are. I'm sure you speak differently than do your friends, listen for those differences and then incorporate them into your writing. But, if the accent is part of who your character is, then use it. Just be carefull, and after you've written a passage, read it out loud and see if it sounds right.

    Good luck
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^
    Good point.

    In reality, if you imagine 100 people inside a room, there may be many accents amongst them. But in a book, you'd be best of using the old 'less is more'.

    If it's only the one character, and (s)he's 'unique' in the sense of being an outsider, it can work nicely. But do some research if it's an accent or dialect you're not familiar with.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    A small amount of slang is enough to give the reader a clue about how the character speaks, and you only need to remind them from time to time. The same goes for swearing, characters speaking with bad grammar, etc.
     
  13. Virginia Slim
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    Virginia Slim New Member

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    Another problem with writing accents is that it's hard work for the reader. It's easier to read straight prose:
    "She went to the store yesterday" is less demanding than, "She went ta de store, yes'day" to give an easy example.
     
  14. Jonalexher
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    But it does give the character some "uniqueness" in my opinion.
    For example, someone that is drunk, or about to pass out. Or Hagrid.
     

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