Author, Barbara Studham

Creator of memoir, fiction, and children's picture book, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Writing Tips: Dialogue

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What a wonderful addition to narrative!

Hearing accents

Hearing accents

I love characters in books who talk too much. Despite their annoying chatter, they advance the storyline. Fiction requires dialogue. Without it, the story would read as boring. Now comes the “however.”

However, as most people do not speak perfect English, a writer needs to adapt to the accent/ class/tone/logic of the character who is speaking. A simple example: no English cockney character would speak in an affluent manner, unless that person had deliberately changed his style; in which case, that scenario should be added to the storyline.

Writing Tips: Dialogue

Look, for a moment, at the following characters. One says, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” The other replies with, “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Two different class of characters: the first completes his sentence with “at home”; the second leaves the preposition “in” hanging. If both characters were considered of the same class they would either say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you weren’t in.” with the reply being “That’s strange. I know I was in.” Alternatively, the first would say, “Yesterday, I called on you, but you appeared not to be at home.” with the reply, “That’s strange. I assure you, I was home all day.”

Speaking styles reveal all. Amazingly, from how the character speaks, the reader can tell where he is from; his mode of upbringing; his class status; his principles; his personality, and his attitude. Invariably, readers are less drawn to a character by what he does, and more by what he says, and the way he speaks.

That is why authors should read books. Dissecting other authors’ work is part of being a good writer. It helps to avoid obvious mistakes when writing a manuscript. It also helps to learn how a character’s personality is revealed through their dialogue.

Keep Writing!

 

Author: whereasi

For over twenty years, I have parented four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a disorder caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Please read of our family struggles and challenges at http://www.challengedhope.com. My two ebook memoirs available on Amazon titled: Two Decades Of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, describe the struggles my grandchildren and I experienced during their youth and teenage years. I have also written fiction, including a six-book English seaside series, titled, Under the Shanklin sky. I am now embarking on a new adventure creating children's picture books, designed specifically with kids with FAS in mind. The two main characters of the book are Strawberry & Cracker, twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The first titled The School Day focuses on the special supports the twins need at school for a successful outcome. The book is due out in the fall of 2017, to be followed by more in the series, all focused on the daily challenges faced by children with FAS. For more info, see my author blog at www.barbarastudham.com.

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