Monday, March 26, 2012

Writing Accents

Today's starting word count is: 5,845
Today's starting page count is: 21
Today's ending word count goal is: 6,845 words
Food and drinks spilled today: 0
Number of WoW Insider Posts read today: 2
Time spent with WoW Insider Open: 2 hours
 Number of times I've yelled at Word today: 0
Number of Heather Dale songs listened to: 3

I have a problem that I'm not sure how to fix. One of my characters is supposed to have a very heavy accent that is much different than the other characters. He's a local, where they are all...imported, I suppose is the word I want.

Now, I hate writing accents. It is so rarely done well, and I would like to avoid it if possible because it doesn't feel right. However, just moving the word order to give the impression doesn't feel strong enough. Its a partly Irish, partly Scottish accent and I'm not sure there is enough of a difference from the regular word order (unlike, say, Asian based accents) to make it clear that he speaks very differently.


“No offense intended a’course, your highness. I’ll tell the crew ta make sure they get yer stuff off before they go an waste yer handsome reward on wenches.”


"No offense intended, of course, your highness. I'll tell the crew to make sure they get your stuff off before they go and waste your handsome reward on wenches."

They just don't have the same feel, do they?

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, they definitely give a different feel from each other. Accents are really tricky - they can help differentiate a character, but they can also make them a pain to read. I had a horrible time reading Huck Finn because everyone spoke in dialect. I got used to it to a point, but it's definitely something I had to work at. Their Eyes Were Watching God was another one with dialect written into the dialog - but that was done to make a point.

    I think it depends on how much of a main character you want him to be. Hagrid, for example, had a very obvious accent, but while he was a fairly important character, he didn't talk but maybe 15% of the series.

    If your trying to voice a main character who's going to be talking 70%-80% of the book(s), toning down on the visible accent would be advised. You can make reference to their strange/unique accent outside the dialog and still have them come off as readable. It won't scream HE'S DIFFERENT, but it will be a character trait.