The Horror of Dialect

In a creative writing class I had several years ago, the teacher cautioned against writing in dialect.  The irony was that at the same time I was taking an Advanced Placement English class that assigned several books written in that particular style. Throughout high school and subsequently college I have periodically read books written in dialect, and I can see why it isn’t common place anymore.

“There Eyes Were Watching God” is often hailed as a classic, and assigned in classrooms all across the country.  I struggled to get through it, I could barely make out what the characters were saying.  I love reading, obviously since I’m a writer, but reading books written entirely or mostly in dialect is an insurmountable challenge for me.  I can figure it out, but my brain wants to fix the words which means it makes reading slow.

Authors are called to “show nor tell” in their stories, and writing in dialect is one way to accomplish that.  To me, though this shows the pitfalls of relying too heavily on showing and not implementing it wisely.  Sometimes, writing short bursts of dialogue, such as a few lines, might be a creative way to show a character’s accent.  Writing an entire book that way is clunky.  That isn’t me saying I claim to be a better writer than these classical authors, but I share this perspective to let others know that if they feel the same, they aren’t alone.  If you are like me, then dialect can be not only clunky, but distracting from the overall plot.  Thank goodness it is a product of the past.

Guest Blog from the Editor of Goandria

Lost in a Good Story – A Note From the Editor

I often get lost in good stories. They suck me in so far that I have trouble pulling myself out. However, I have also read stories that I could not possibly finish and I wonder how they became “classics.” For example, Harry Potter sucks me in, but even though I love King Arthur legends, I have never been able to finish The Once and Future King.

I was first introduced to Goandria in 2008, and I saw a lot of potential in it, but it still had a ways to go. After several years of revisions, I read through it again, and I was amazed. As an editor, I try hard not to get pulled in so deep that I miss spelling and punctuation errors, but it was really hard for me on this one. I find that I can relate to several of the characters in different ways, that I can actually feel what they are going through. I laugh and cry with them because they are real to me. It makes editing quite the challenge, but it gives me hope that readers may feel the same way.

I am glad that you can read the stories of Goandria for enjoyment, and I hope that they suck you in as they did me. I anxiously await the completion of the next story so I can find out what happens to the characters. It may just take a bit longer to go through several rounds of editing so I can enjoy the story at least once.