This week: Different Characters and Dialogue Edited by: Dawn Embers
More Newsletters By This Editor
1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions
|For Authors Newsletter by Dawn|
Talking about how characters talk.
|There are many elements involved in writing stories that authors need to consider. Either during character development or the writing process, something that comes up whether we plan it or not is going to be dialogue. How a character talks can be very important but also has the potential to hinder readers. This newsletter topic was also sparked by a topic on the "Writing.Com General Discussion" [13+] where writers can express different questions and views writing.|
Also, an episode of Family Guy comes to mind when considering how people and characters talk. There was an episode many years ago where Stewie had to teach a different little girl how to speak more formal, to sound ladylike for a big event. Granted it spirals downhill fast later leading to her vows of revenge but the training for speech is something done in different shows to kind of showcase both the joys and struggles of speech.
"Just let them talk!"
"That is easier said than done, I say."
"Well, perhaps there is a reason for the difficult nature when it comes to the patterns and styles related to speech."
"When y'all make up yous mind, why dontcha let me's know..."
The last one hurt a little in my head as I was typing it. Which brings me to the overall point. While it is fun and in some stories very important to give the dialogue flair to really show the reader how the characters speak instead of telling them there is a different element to the words, there is also a potential to make it hard for the reader to handle. A little bit of quarks and style can make a big impact. However, at least from my experience, if you put a lot of style into the dialogue of the characters it might be fitting but can be difficult to read. Aside from understanding the words, there is a struggle in flow as some readers don't like to stumble along the way when reading a story. Doesn't mean it's wrong but take into mind how the use of dialect, symbols and showcasing language struggles will influence the readability.
Some things to consider when thinking about different ages, dialects and language creation when preparing to write dialogue:
Understanding of time lines. This is good for younger characters because kids like to tell stories but they aren't quite grown in development for understanding what items are important and how to order things. They may forget something then come up with it mid story, throwing random bits in. Or may get distracted and wonder around not really having a point. Adults can do this too.
Similar words and sounds. One doesn't need to showcase every error or struggle in language to get the point across that there is a different understand or someone is still in language learning stages. Slips of phrase or getting a word that is similar or close to write but just a little wrong can give a character a little flair.
Don't over complicate but also do what is best for the story. While it's a good idea to consider the different readers, to keep it simple and not overdo different languages or speech, there is also some merit to doing what you see best for the story. Fantasy and sci-fi have some particular usage for symbols, adding flair to language in order to show the world and characters of the story. This may alienate some readers. One just has to be aware that some may not like that element of the story if the dialogue gets a little clunky or complicated. That doesn't mean you can't do it. Just be aware and not sensitive to feedback that doesn't quite appreciate those aspects. Not every reader will like every story and that is okay.
So, let your characters speak.
Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!
Don't forget to support our sponsor!
|How do you write the dialogue of characters who speak different that is easy enough for different readers to follow?|
Last month, I wrote a newsletter about planning for the year with a focus on writing. Here are a couple of comment sent in for that topic:
Comment by BIG BAD WOLF is Merry
Try to get down to 275lbs. Write a few stories, add to others.
Comment by Monty
I am a poet and will see what your ideas mean to me.
To stop receiving this newsletter, click here for your newsletter subscription list. Simply uncheck the box next to any newsletter(s) you wish to cancel and then click to "Submit Changes". You can edit your subscriptions at any time.