Writing Dialect

Howdy. How all y’all awesome writrs out thar? Gonna reach yore gole this hea month?

Many writers think that writing like they think the characters should sound is authentic writing. That is not always the case. How many people do you think were put off by my two opening sentences in this blog? How many people thought the entire blog was going to read that way? How many people don’t even know what I said?

It is best not to write an entire novel that way. It may sound authentic to you, but it might sound just plain weird to them. If weird isn’t what they are looking for, they could be gone almost immediately. You could lose your reader before you have a chance to get them hooked.

In this article by Writer’s Digest, the pitfalls of writing in this manner are shown. I, for one, don’t like being made fun of in this manner when someone writes what they consider “Southern dialogue”. It makes us sound dumb and we are anything but dumb.

One big problem some people who write in this manner have is that they concentrate so hard on the “authentic” dialect, they lose sight of the story. The plot suffers as a result. People who talk this way are often written in a manner that depicts them as dumb and uneducated. This is stereotyping, and that should never be used in characters that you are trying to develop. Remember, they are individuals who live in the South, not Southerners who happen to be people.

If you can’t get past this when doing the first draft, go ahead. Just make sure you get rid of it before you finish with the editing. Your story will be better because of it.

Okay. I’m coming off my soapbox and getting ready to do some fiction writing now. Who is with me? Great! Let’s get writing.


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