Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Accent-Uate The Positive

Yup, that's what I want to talk about today: Accents!

I know you're probably scratching your head wondering what that's all about, but I really do have a point. How much is too much? "Huh?" you ask.

What is the right amount of accent/language to include? As a reader what do you like or not like? I know that I have a few friends who don't really like to try and decipher a heavy accent like a Scottish brogue, but don't mind a little thrown in for flavor. Myself, I don't mind it as long as it goes with the feel of the story. I kind of like trying to figure out what certain words mean, but I'm a bit perverse that way. As an author, I love trying to find new ways to say familiar things. The reason this is in my head today is that my NaNo project has a few Gaelic speaking fellows that had me wracking my brain... imagine my surprise when one told me: "Royally screwed? Means ye're rightly bollixed and regally fecked!"

So, as a reader, what do you like to see? Read? Whatever. Do you like seeing the accents and languages? Or are you a purist: just give you the meaning and insinuate accent? I'd love to know your take on it.


Devon Gray said...

Hmmm...that's a tough one. I know I've read many books where the accents bug the crap out of me, especially when they are frequent and slow down the reading. In my current wip, I have a character with a very thick "good 'ol boy" accent. After reading in more than one book on craft that editors don't particularly care for this, especailly from unpublished authors,I toned him down. Way down. The way I figure it, in this business asking for forgiveness instead of permission just won't work. If I am offered a contract on this manuscript, I'll ask my editor what she/he thinks about it instead of risking it at the onset. Having said that, I have read books where the accents are done very well...and they add to the appeal of the hero. Great question!

Helen Hardt said...

I like a little for flavor, but if it slows down the reading, like Devon said, it gets on my nerves. I don't want to have to stop and figure out what they're actually saying, LOL. But a little Scottish brogue? So sexy!


Catherine Bybee said...

Great post.

If the accent slows down the read or I stumble over the meaning of the words... no, no, no!

That said..

"I burn for ye, lass." Says so much more than. "You're hot!"

Do you know what I mean?