My Passion's Pen

Helping to polish what your passion pens.

One opinion on writing dialect

As a writer, I love to write about the South. So, conveying the rhythm of speech and dialect is something I worry about. A lot.

As a reader, I love to read stories. Period. Presently, I’ve been reading a mafia story, so there’s Italian peppered in with New York euphemism and the unique rhythm of Brooklyn. I love it!

I’ve also read some stories where I had to literally touch every word of dialogue and sound it out. Still, I wasn’t often successful in understating what the author was trying to say. Times like that, it’s beyond evident the author was just trying too hard. Not a good look.

As a beta, I say, err on the side of simplicity, but be consistent. I read a beautiful fic recently where the narrator’s voice was a rural Southern patois. It took a moment to catch the rhythm, but I can’t imagine the story being told another way. The words weren’t complicated, but there were a lot of apostrophes. The author’s word choice with local idioms and whatnot pulled the story together. Not to mention it was well plotted. I greatly appreciated the effort.

Language and dialect are a part of world building, and a key component in character development. Try your best to keep the reader engaged by keeping things simple–readable.

Showing Dialect in Dialogue

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