The Seventh Rule for Writing a Modern Novel

March 10, 2013 at 7:16 am

Use Dialect Sparingly

I do agree with this rule.

When this rule says ‘dialect’ it’s talking about (I think!) those passages where characters start talking like this, “‘e said that ‘e couldn’t roolly work out that what I was talkin’ ‘boot.’

While I don’t mind this in small doses, in big ones it can be very annoying. I can remember skipping passages of the book Wuthering Heights because I couldn’t understand what one of the characters was saying, as the writing was so dialect-heavy. So there can definitely be too much.

Not only that, but you need to make sure you get it right. I’ve read books where people are trying to make their characters sound Australian, and you can usually tell that the writer has no real idea how we talk, because they’ve used every Aussie idiom they could discover, and do we Australians really talk like that all the time? No. So you certainly shouldn’t try it with a dialect you are unfamiliar with, and try to make sure everyone can still understand what the character is saying, or you run the risk of alienating part of your audience.