Kirby – 2008-06-02 7:07 PM Jai and James, Thank you for your replies. He circled my “gonnas” and contractions, and in class he used my paper as “what not to do” when writing dialogue. He’s actually a very good writer himself, but I think we have different writing styles. The agent that said my dialogue was stilted confirmed what I had been wondering if I should put the gonna and contractions back in. I also have a couple of characters that speak with thick Irish brogues. I had written out some of the English words with an Irish twist and the professor also said that this was a no-no. After I listened to recordings of Irish people speaking English, I wrote out some of their word sounds and used them in my dialogue. Should I put this back in, or leave it without the Irish accent? Thank you again.
No offense, but that professor sounds like an ass. Imagine using a student’s paper to show what shouldn’t be done. The man’s got no class, especially since he wasn’t even right in this instance.
Accents are a different issue. I agree that it should be done with a light touch because writing accents phonetically can be tough to read. It’s not too easy on the eye. I read this book once by Meagan McKinney where the hero was Irish and had a brogue. She would pick out one word in a sentence and emphasise how he said that word and how it made the people around him feel. eg. He asked the woman “Where’s the sacrifice?” but McKinney wrote that he said “Whare’s the sacrifice?” I think this is an effective way of reminding the reader of his accent and also injecting the other character’s reactions to that accent. Less is more, in this regard.