Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writer's Words of Wisdom: Small Details

I'm going to try and keep this post short and sweet. Today is Connor's 5th birthday! Happy Birthday, Gremlin!

Dialect can add spice and depth to any story, if it is properly used. As a rule of thumb, you should save dialect for dialogue and keep it out of the narration. For example, the following sentence should be moved to a quote somewhere:
           Kasey ain't got nary horse. Where was her dad-gum horse?

You also need to keep the story's setting and time period in mind. You wouldn't want a cell phone ringing in 1500 A.D Scotland, would you? And you couldn't have characters going to a beach resort in Missouri, either.

This can be especially difficult for British or Canadian writers who spell words differently than American-based writers. If you're writing something that occurs outside the U.S, keep your preference. And of course there are some exceptions here. For example, your characters are studying abroad, new immigrants, visiting on a work visa- in those situations it would be okay to mix it up in the dialogue. 

Color vs. colour
neighbor vs. neighbour
*theater vs theatre
 Personally, I prefer theatre for some reason. I always spell it that way when I write it ;).

I suppose you could also make an argument for different points of view as well. In first person narration, the characters thoughts would be open to their own dialect, too. Lots of gray area here that you may want to discuss with your editor as well.

You also can't forget the difference in measurement. I'm pretty sure everywhere but the United States uses the metric system. So, if you mention a measurement and the story is in Europe, you should probably use one of those standards of measurement.

These variations are relatively small details when considered in a whole novel, but the little details are just as important as the big ones.

Don't forget to visit this week's participating authors' blogs as well!

Paloma Beck  

Tammy Dennings Maggy(Tammy Smith)

Happy Writing!
:.My Birthday Boy!.:

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