There Are Accents In The Eye

I read an interesting blog yesterday by Claire King .  It was a timely reminder to pull back and  look at the bigger picture when writing, to look at things from a different prospective.  Or even picking up your character and putting them in a different setting to see what happens.

The book I’m writing at the moment, is all planned out, researched and has been bubbling away in my head for over a year.  So why am I struggling to write it?  Reading someone else’s words, so obvious when you think about it, re-inspired me.  My book was no longer the comfortable pair of old shoes, sitting in the back of my wardrobe, instead I pulled back and looked at it again with fresh eyes.  The plot is good, it’s exciting and even if no-one wants to publish it, I will be proud when it’s finished.  So in my mind, I was a giant, picking up my protagonist between thumb and finger, before releasing her into a new setting, and sitting back to see what would happen.  It certainly broke my writers block.

So now the next dilemma, accents.  Do you write in local dialect (obviously if the plot/ character dictates it)?  I’ve read books, where the writer had got it wrong, and like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, it really grates, detracting from the flow and jarring you out of the story.  Get it right, and you pull the reader in deeper adding a new dimension and giving the words creditability.

It’s a fine line, a really thick accent, as in the original Uncle Remus stories can be hard work to read.  I was lucky that my Granny spent many hours reading them to me, easily coping with the words and bringing the characters to life.  No accent, and will the reader really see the book they way you see it in your head?  Will the characters loose their realism?

You have to have an ear for it, to capture the exactness of it.  Personally I love the sound of French, Italian and Yorkshire accents, and to put them in the story, it’s all about the words and the phrasing you use to carry it across.

But remember, to quote Thomas Hardy in Far From the Madding Crowd, “There are accents in the eye which are not on the tongue..” How the people act and look are just as important as the words that come from their mouths.  Drawing back and looking at your protagonist in new ways, helps you see these.

Another excellent writer (and blog I follow), Nicola Morgan also has some interesting (and far more articulate) pointers on how to make a book more believable. 


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