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Listening to the Characters In Your Head

February 13th, 2021

This week I want to take a look at the use of dialect  – or alternative forms of English – in your fiction.  I’ve chosen this topic because I’ve just read two books that demonstrate how this can be done in a masterful way. (More about these, and others, later.)

On the whole, our advice on dialect is simple – avoid it. If you have people talking in impenetrable  accents readers outside that particular group will struggle to understand what the characters are saying. If you use it in dialogue, readers won’t know what many of the regional slang words mean and within a page or two will give up, go away and read something more accessible. Publishers are aware of this and it may limit your book’s appeal to them.

It’s far easier if you merely mention that a character spoke in, say, a Geordie accent and let the reader do the hard work for you. Most readers know what North East speech sounds like and will subconsciously hear the dialogue as being spoken in that accent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Show Don’t Tell

October 7th, 2016

the-japanese-lover-blogYesterday was National Poetry Day – if you took part in any way I hope you enjoyed yourself. To mark the event we’ve been offering £25 off our Art of Writing Poetry course and this offer will be available until 16th October.  So if you fancy brushing up your poetry skills, now’s the time to do it.

I live in Rochdale, near Manchester. It doesn’t often get good press. Some parts come very high on the list of most deprived areas in the UK, there was the grooming scandal involving young girls and who could miss the allegations against Cyril Smith the former Liberal MP.

But it’s a town that’s set amidst beautiful  Pennine countryside,  it has some truly outstanding Victorian buildings and it’s really trying to put all that behind it and move on.  One of the many ways it’s doing this is by holding an annual literary festival later in the month. Read the rest of this entry »

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Introducing Dialect To Your Dialogue

February 26th, 2016

vanity-fair-blogLast week I announced the winners of our Short Story Competition and I hope you’ve found time to read their stories. This week I can announce that our 2016 Flash Fiction Competition is open for entries.

There are three prizes:  1st £300; 2nd £200 and 3rd £100 and the winners also receive a Writers Bureau course of their choice each worth over £350. The entry fee is £5 per story or three stories for £10. The theme is open but your story must not exceed 500 words (excluding the title). The closing date is 30th April, so you’ve plenty of time to enter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Your Dialogue Letting You Down?

April 9th, 2015

comic-book-graphic-elements-vector_23-2147493621-blog First, thanks to Esther for stepping into the breach last Friday. As you can see, she’s another Writers Bureau tutor that started as a student and now thoroughly enjoys helping to develop new writing talent.

Last month Esther wrote an article on the ‘Dos and Don’ts of Dialogue’ for Freelance Market News. We got a great response to this, so I thought that you might also be interested in some tips. Many novels and short stories get rejected because they don’t include enough dialogue – or the speech their characters use sounds stilted and unrealistic. So here are some suggestions to help you make the most of what your characters say: Read the rest of this entry »

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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