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message 1: by Donna (last edited Jul 17, 2018 04:53AM) (new)

Donna Everhart (donnaeverhart) Good morning, everyone!

Yesterday I talked about the historic flood that is the inciting incident in THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET. Today, I'm going to talk about the dialect of the area, and the research behind it.

Sometimes writing in an authentic voice can throw a reader off if they're not familiar with a particular setting. For instance, one reader left a comment about the use of "won't" instead of "wasn't," and thought it was an editing error. It was apparent they didn't know this is a natural form of speech in some areas of our country.

Another said this, "Written in Appalachian dialect that made me feel connected with my roots."

I realize for some this might not work, yet a good majority of readers felt it lent an authentic tone to the story. I'm quite familiar with this way of speech. At a book event I was talking about writing in a colloquial manner, and gave examples used like, "I knowed" and "I seen," instead of "I knew" and "I saw." Several laughed and said, "Oh, we talk like that all the time."

The way I discovered my character's voice came from reading books by Robert Morgan as well as online research. The University of South Carolina, College of Arts and Sciences was one of my resources, and has an extensive collection of recordings from 1939. I sat enthralled for hours listening to these.

Here's the link to the site:

I also listened to various recording on YouTube like this one:

There are certainly risks when writing this way, but I think what's key is consistency, and not overdoing it.

What books have you read that feature a particular dialect? One that stands out to me is THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett. Personally I loved all the voices in this story, while others did not.

My next book, THE FORGIVING KIND is available for pre-order, and to add to your "Want to Read shelf on Goodreads too.

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message 2: by Stella (new)

Stella McKissack (stellamckissack) | 38 comments I loved the Gaelic in the Outlander novels

message 3: by Donna (new)

Donna Everhart (donnaeverhart) Stella wrote: "I loved the Gaelic in the Outlander novels"

Can you believe - I haven't read one single Outlander book??? I know they're good, and I've said I'm going to one of these days, but I can't bear to add any more books to what I already have and will likely never read.

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