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seun
11-27-2006, 03:38 PM
I'm reading the new James Herbert and finding myself a little irritated with his insistence of writing dialogue in what you might call real accents. Most of the characters are from Devon so they talk loike dat. The MC (American) has a habit of saying 'em in place of them and contracting it's OK to 's'ok etc.

It's nice to have a sense of place through character and dialogue but this strikes me as overdoing it. I imagine most of Herbert's readers have an idea how people from Devon sound. I know this just comes down to taste but it's starting to distract from the story.

Does this bother anyone else or am I being too picky?

KTC
11-27-2006, 03:41 PM
It does not bother me in the least. I expect to read the proper dialect in a novel. I confess that it's sometimes hard, but I still expect to read it. I found PORNO a bit difficult, but would have found it less real if the dialect wasn't proper.

Julie Worth
11-27-2006, 03:45 PM
It does not bother me in the least. I expect to read the proper dialect in a novel.

A common technique is to use an occasional word or phrasing that suggests the dialect, but to avoid the full blown use of it. Anything that slows the reader and makes her decode the words is going to get books thrown up against the wall.

Vescoiya
11-27-2006, 03:50 PM
I find accents in novels really irritating actually. I can take a couple of contractions that seem odd to me, but apart from that they are just annoying. It makes it harder to read the dialogue, and the last thing I want to do while reading is spending an hour trying to figure out what the words are intended to be in a paragraph. It is much like I don’t want random Spanish in a book, I’d rather skip the accents as well.

KTC
11-27-2006, 03:51 PM
A common technique is to use an occasional word or phrasing that suggests the dialect, but to avoid the full blown use of it. Anything that slows the reader and makes her decode the words is going to get books thrown up against the wall.




Great point. Maybe there is a middle road when it comes to dialect. But I do expect it. It would be wrong not to use it at all. But yes, I do see your point.

ChaosTitan
11-27-2006, 07:30 PM
Great point. Maybe there is a middle road when it comes to dialect.

For mainstream work, I think there should be a middle road. Dialect comes across as much in word choice and order as it does in dropping a 'g' or saying "wot" instead of "what."

If you're from Southern Delaware (I grew up there), you're probably going to say, "Can you do me something?" instead of "Can you do something for me?" I never realized I said anything odd until I moved to Virginia and a co-worker pointed it out.

My first finished novel was set near my hometown, with people very much like the ones I grew up around (as many first novels are). It's full of regional dialect, without being as hard to read as, say, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Accents are great, but when I have to read the book out loud in order to understand it, it's overkill.

seun
11-27-2006, 07:46 PM
I like that example, chaostitan. Having dialogue that isn't grammatically correct suits me; it's just when it's laboured and forced. In the case of the Herbert book, the characters are from a certain area and stand out to others. To my ear, they just sound like stereotypes. I'm expecting the locals to tell people to get orf der larrrrnd and for the American to tell them to have a nice day.

Carmy
11-27-2006, 09:05 PM
Whenever I've read accents in dialogue, I've found it adds dimension to the character. The character is more believable. What really puts me off, especially in historicals, is a badly educated commoner who speaks "Eton" English.

Shadow_Ferret
11-28-2006, 12:34 AM
My thought is, establish in the beginning that everyone talks loike that then drop it and write so it's readable. If it makes you feel better as a writer, throw in a word or two, but don't do it sentence after sentence. No reader is going to enjoy deciphering 200-300 pages of that nonsense.

Julie Worth
11-28-2006, 12:45 AM
My thought is, establish in the beginning that everyone talks loike that then drop it and write so it's readable. If it makes you feel better as a writer, throw in a word or two, but don't do it sentence after sentence. No reader is going to enjoy deciphering 200-300 pages of that nonsense.

Right. It's very similar to using past perfect. You throw in a couple to orient the reader, and then go back to past tense.

Carrie in PA
11-28-2006, 05:38 AM
My thought is, establish in the beginning that everyone talks loike that then drop it and write so it's readable. If it makes you feel better as a writer, throw in a word or two, but don't do it sentence after sentence. No reader is going to enjoy deciphering 200-300 pages of that nonsense.

I agree. A few words here and there is fine. But I've stopped reading more than one book that I was yanked outside the story and had to try to decipher dialogue. I want to be pulled into a story, not have to sit there and sound words out.

aliajohnson
11-28-2006, 05:49 AM
Dialect comes across as much in word choice and order as it does in dropping a 'g' or saying "wot" instead of "what."


I completly agree with this. I think most accents can be potrayed accurately with sentence structue and word choice.
Personally, I'm also okay with 'em for them and a few others. I don't need every word spelled out phonetically. In fact, I'd be pretty annoyed.

But then, if I'm reading about an old cowboy in Texas and he's saying "isn't" and "them." That's going to annoy me too. Maybe more. Because suddenly this character is nothing more than words on a page to me. I've never met an old cowboy who didn't say 'em.