Voice And Dialect

Voice And Dialect
Author:
Publish date:

When we read dialogue, we should be able to distinguish between each character even without tag lines, simply by the way they speak: the cadence, the word choices, pet phrases, etc.

You can discover these kinds of individual dialogue markers by listening carefully to the people around you. Are there particular words or phrases a certain person favors? Does she speak in cliches? Does he use similes to illustrate is point? Does her voice get higher when she gets excited? Does he pause between words?

In addition, pay attention to the physical gestures that accompany speech, such as neck scratching, eye rubbing, ear tugging, etc. These gestures can help suggest the attitude or emotional state of the speaker. They also provide visual cues to help the reader "see" the characters while they are speaking.

Dialect is dialogue that is spoken either with a foreign or regional accent. Be careful, though, not to overwhelm your readers with pages of phonetically spelled dialogue or whole speeches made in a foreign language with no translation. Generally, a few key words or phrases are enough to tune the reader''s "ear" to the dialect.

Writing dialect is a skill to be practiced and it begins with careful listening. If you want to imitate the dialect of someone you know, listen carefully for the words they use, their pronunciation and sentence structure. Pick one or two distinctive characteristics to use in your passages. If you don''t know anyone with the accent you need, rent a video. Just make sure you pick a serious film that was well received by the critics.

Learn more about the Fundamentals of Fiction Writing Workshop.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The May/June 2021 Issue, a Chance at Publication, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce that the May/June 2021 “Curiosity” issue is now live in the WD shop, there’s still time to have your From Our Reader’s response selected for publication in the July/August 2021 “Bravery” issue, and more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 18

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write an ekphrastic poem.

Personal Essay Awards

Announcing the First Annual Personal Essay Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the first annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards!

From Script

Movie Theatres Return While Indie Cinema and TV Turns to Horror and Beyond (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, read movie reviews from cinephile Tom Stemple. Plus, exclusive interviews with Amazon’s Them creator and showrunner Little Marvin, horror film Jakob’s Wife director Travis Stevens, a history lesson with Dr. Rosanne Welch about trailblazer screenwriter Anita Loos, and much more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a waiting poem.

GettyImages-119430542

Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.