Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Make your language believable

As writers of fiction, we often forget that the people we use in the stories should act and behave like real people. This also means that the language they use - the diction, the vocal patterns and the like - need to be believeable for the reader. If not, the reader will struggle through the text, and although the plot for the story may be great, the dialogue will kill the reader.

Too often, I see writers trying to impress the reader with language they believe to be that of the genre they write in. We see this, for example, in medieval's when the characters are using a ton of thee's and thou's. The problem, is that the writer has forgotten that their character is someone maybe with no education. Using words that just don't fit that character become just as bad as running fingers down the chalkboard.

I see the same thing when it comes to grammar. Sure we are taught to write in complete sentences and to not use jargon and contractions, but darn it, our characters may speak in such a fashion. Pay attention to who they are and what they might say.

One great technique to use would be to have someone read it outloud to you. This often will bring out the best (and the worst) in your writing.

Remember, it is the dialogue that keeps our story moving. If it is awkward, you simply bring us to a screeching halt!


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