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EDIT ME — Character Accents

quote mark

 

I write hardworking heroes. They are rough guys you won’t find in a boardroom or winning a prize for most cultured speaking voice.

My guys drawl, groan, grunt, and cut off the ends of words. They have Texas twangs and Mississippi drawls. My friends write Scotsmen and English nobles. They all have accents.

So how do you show that in dialogue? Or should you?

 

“She came out of the shed ahootin’ and ahollerin’, running like her pants was on fire. We ’bout fell offin our chairs laughin’ so hard. I think Randy pissed hisself.”

If you read that the way I hope you did, you might be smiling, the voice of the speaker loud and clear in your imagination. Writing with accents is really fun, but it can be overkill. Imagine reading a whole book like that. You’d get annoyed and might possibly skim-read, right?

 

What if you allow that character a few sentences to speak the way he would, and then you back off a little? You don’t allow his twang to come through quite so much. Do you know what happens?

 

The reader still hears it.

 

example: Doona fash yerself, mon.

You have the theme of Braveheart in your head, don’t you? A little of that type of language and accent goes a long way. If he only said this a few times, the reader gets a vivid picture.

 

Awright geeezzaa! What are yew saying? Sorted mate.

 

Wot wot old chap. I was just enjoying some bloody good crumpet.

 

Fuhgeddaboutit!

 

How much of that do you want to read in a book? How much can your readers stomach before they start getting irritated?

 

When going with accents, think carefully about how to trim it down. Streamline. A little goes a long way.

 

Thanks for reading!

Em~

 

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One comment on “EDIT ME — Character Accents

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