At our writers group meeting last week after I read my piece one of the other writers said, “When your work is published, you will have to do audio books, because the Vermont accent adds so much.”
I said, “I have an accent?” And another member next to me nodded slowly, wide-eyed, like, “You didn’t know that?”
I remembered another reader saying about my first novel, “You have some interesting dialect here, you could do even more of that.” And I thought, Dialect? Um, okay.
And that’s interesting. I mean obviously I know that there are regional differences in the way speakers of the same language sound. I just did not realize that it came across so much in my writing.
That pleases me because I feel as though on one level, that is my voice. I am being true to who I am because my writing, in effect, sounds the way I sound. My characters speak in the voices I have heard my whole life. That’s good, right?
But only very slightly have I ever intentionally written dialect. I have written ‘aright’ for ‘alright’ and ‘priey’ for ‘probably’, because that’s what we say, “You priey got twenty of them in your shed,” is what I wrote. I don’t speak that way if I am paying attention and in company. I priey do talk like that when I am talking to my brother.
But apparently I read that way. In my first novel, which is set in a very rural part of Vermont, I would write, “Jesus Christ I know it, alright!” But how that sounds to us is, “JeeZUZ Keroist Oi know et, ar-ROIGHT?”
It helps if you hold one side of your lower lip perfectly still as though you had a chaw of tobacco between there and your gums and you can’t lose it. “Yup, atsit, loik ‘at.”
I don’t think I could keep that up. I guess my writing group buddy is right, I’ll have to do the audio books.
Boi the Jeezus, fella, I will then. Aright.
© Margaret Grant and magoffleash, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.