Re: Re: The Use of “Gonna” in YA Lit

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Mikala Engel

Kirby – 2008-06-02 6:07 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.


A writer who doesn’t use contractions in dialogue is either not writing realistic dialogue, or all his characters are English majors. That’s the silliest advice I’ve heard.  He may be a good writer, but I’d hate to read his dialogue.

I mean, really, name a great writer who follows his advice?  I certainly can’t think of one.

Now, he has a point with writing accents.  A very little bit goes an extremely long way, and the best way to show accent is with word choice, syntax, and rhythm, rather than by trying to write the words as they sound.