wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Dialect in Writing

 

Dialect 

If one or more of your characters have a dialect or accent that you feel is important to note in your novel, I would suggest that unless you are very familiar with those regional speech patterns or accents, use them sparsely so they don’t distract from the story. The safer way to do it would be to choose a few instances of the dialect and use them in dialogue. Try as much as possible to have the rest of the writing in plain English.

Falling out of character by messing up the dialect is going to do damage to your credibility as a writer and to the credibility of the character.

I’d like to give you some examples of how I have used dialect and accent of a character in my novels.

One of my secondary characters in The Wind Weeps is Monique, a French-Canadian girl. I wanted to show that she spoke with a French-Canadian accent, but I didn’t want the phonetic spelling of every word of her speech become a chore for the reader. My solution was to limit Monique’s dialect and accent to a few of the most obvious speech habits that were typical of French speakers of English.

Saying the soft sound of “th” (as in “they”) is often difficult for speakers of French origin,  so, for example, instead of saying “there,” Monique would say “dere.”  For the hard sound of “th,” she might say “somet’ing” instead of “something.”

In French the sound of “h” is not used, so in English, Monique would have a habit of dropping the sound of the letter “h.” I showed this by placing an apostrophe in its place.  If she were saying, “It’s time to have something to eat,” she would say, “It is time to ’ave somet’ing to eat.”

That reminds me of the last clue to Monique’s speech being different; she would not use contractions. Instead of “can’t,” she would say “cannot,”  or she would say “it is” instead of “it’s, and “I ’ave” instead of “I’ve.”

By using these three changes in the dialogue, the reader could instantly identify that it was Monique who was speaking.  Just to be sure, I gave Monique two more habits of her own. I added the odd case of her swearing by having her say, “Tabernac,” once in a while. I also had her use an expression that was all her own by having her conflate two common phrases she had heard used in English. When she wanted to say “For sure” or “Sure thing,” as she had heard others say, she ended up saying, “For sure t’ing.”  Whenever this came up in the book, we would always know it was Monique speaking.

If you’d like to check it out yourself, you can find The Wind Weeps and its sequel, Reckoning Tide, at all amazon   (click on amazon) outlets and at smashwords.com (Click on smashwords.com).

My books are all marked down to 99 cents US so you can load your e-reader with bargain reading.

You can find a review of The Wind Weeps, by clicking on this blog post by Diana Wallace Peach.

P.S. For those who follow both my blogs, I have copied this post for both this one time. I don’t intend to make that a habit.

 

 


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Location, Location, Location

A few days ago, David Kanigan posted photos of a Canada goose nesting on a dock.

https://davidkanigan.com/2021/04/20/and-the-show-goes-on/

Please visit it to see this post.

I had mixed feelings about this goose’s choice of location. It’s right out in the open, and so vulnerable to predators and the weather. I hope for, but don’t expect, a good outcome for this brood. Still, if she pulls it off and any of her goslings hatch and survive, the goose will deserve a medal for bravery and stamina.

I thought of this goose nest when the Captain came home from a trip up the BC coast, having taken pictures of a goose nest in a very remote location. This is how it should be. This goose nest is beside a river, but somehow the goose knew about rivers rising in the spring, and it has placed this nest high up out of the reach of a flooding river.

The nest is on top of this tree stump, out of sight, and out of reach of the spring run-off in a rising river. It is sheltered from aerial predators by the new growth on top of the stump.  Being up high would also give it a slight advantage over animals that might threaten it from ground level.

But even with all of the advantages the goose has with this remote nest,  it is probably at just as much risk as the town goose in David Kanigan’s blog post.

Thank you, David, for showing the city goose as compared to my country goose. I hope they both manage to bring off a nice batch of goslings.


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Schtormy Vedder

When you’re heading for a social situation and you’re worried about what to say, I’m sure you’ve heard the advice, “Don’t worry. You can always talk about the weather.”

That comment assumes that weather is a trivial thing, but on the contrary, it’s a major factor in how we spend our time. We adjust our plans and activities, according to the weather.

Changes in the weather can be dramatic and at times dangerous.

Two days ago our usual wind and rain turned into slushy snow driven by gale-force winds. As the freezing sleet pelted down, coating everything with wet snow, flashes of lightning lit up the skies, followed by the longest, loudest rumbles of rolling thunder I have ever heard. Emma barked to let me know they made her nervous.

That evening’s thunder snow changed to the same old, same old weather the next day. Here is a picture of the same old wind and rain, taken by a friend on his phone.

Well … okay, maybe it was a little bit windier than usual.

I hope those storm watchers who parked in the usual parking area won’t stay too long. That salt water is deadly on all the metal parts of their vehicles. Salt spray and flying sand are about the worst things to shower onto your car.

My friend who took the photo also took some videos. Here are some short clips (a few seconds each) to give you the feeling that you are actually there, getting soaked as he did.

May the sun come out soon and warm us.


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Composition isn’t Everything …

but it sure helps.

After the snow that, thankfully, stayed up in the hills, I wanted to take a picture of it. As always in photos taken from my house, the power lines ruin the composition for me.

I got thinking about the composition of photos and when I received this photo of my nephew, I had a chuckle over the post that seems to be growing out of his head.

Going way, way back to about 1975, I found this photo of when the Captain and I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands. My parents came from Vancouver Island to visit us. At the beach,  my mother and I decided to take pictures of each other for posterity. It was one of those rare times when it wasn’t raining and the sand was relatively dry, so she sat on the sand and pointed her Brownie camera at me, and I lay on a log, posing as I prepared to take a picture of her. We laughed when we realized that with the cameras in front of our faces we wouldn’t get much of a picture so we had to take turns. In the photo you see I’ve lowered my camera while she took my picture, and then it was my turn to take hers. We had the giggles and I think that’s why she couldn’t hold the camera steady and ended up taking a picture of her own boots. (For the purposes of this blog post, I’ve taken out my face, but I was grinning a lot in the picture.)

Later she sent me the photo and I laughed all over again. Not the greatest composition, but it was unique.

My mother died in 1982, and this bad photo of her gumboots is one of my special treasures because of the happy memories it evokes.

Don’t forget my other blog, anneli’s place, if you are interested in informal writing tips.


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Marlie

Marlie is a good person. Maybe a bit naive…. A young teacher newly arrived in the Queen Charlotte Islands, she has a lot to learn. The rough island life tests her survival skills both physically and socially. She is surprised that with the beauty of the islands come hidden and unexpected dangers.

 

Here is a short excerpt from “Marlie” :

She pulled over to the side of the gas station after she gassed up, and made the call. At the pumps Brent was leaning his shoulder into the side of his truck, staring off into space as he held the nozzle in the gas tank. The profile of his face was perfect—manly, but fine. His blue checkered work shirt had a tear in the elbow. Jeans were dirty and smeared with dried blood—from the deer, she presumed. She sure hoped that was what the blood was from. How was she to know? She’d only just met him. His canvas vest had lots of pockets, more practical than fashionable. Seemed like islanders tended to be that way. Kodiak boots half unlaced told her he must have walked a lot today and maybe his feet were sore. Fancy, he was not.

It would have been great if she had been nicer to Brent, but as luck would have it, she chose instead a man who would get her into serious trouble. You will be shocked at how Marlie’s trusting nature is turned against her. Rough island life is about to get much rougher. When she most needs a friend, she realizes that she knows very few people in this new setting. She’s on her own.

If you like page-turner stories of love, adventure, and danger, why not download “Marlie”? It is available on all amazon outlets for Kindle and paperback, and on smashwords.com and nook.com (Barnes and Noble) for all formats of e-readers.

 Find Marlie here:   amazon.com

 and here: amazon.ca

Available in paperback as well.

To find out more, visit my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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The Murderer

  • Note: For those of you who are followers of my other post “annelisplace,” please excuse the duplication. If you like to read about books, authors, and writing, you may want to follow that blog as well as this one.
  • Also, if you are a writer and would like to post something on my annelisplace blog, please let me know and I’d be happy to host you there.

 

On Marlie’s first day of moving onto the Queen Charlotte Islands, her car has a flat tire. All her belongings are stuffed in the trunk on top of the tire changing equipment. Once removed, they don’t fit back into the trunk, but a passing islander stops to help change her tire and as the sky opens and rain threatens to soak everything, he offers to bring the excess belongings to Masset for her.

Here is the scene that follows (taken from the novel “Marlie”)

*****

“Okay, you go sit in the car and I’ll take care of the rest.” When she nodded, Brent grabbed a few things from the roadside and walked to the back of his truck. She was right behind him with an armful of odds and ends.

Brent opened the canopy door and as she shrieked, he whirled around. “Oh my God! You killer!” Her face was contorted into a mask of horror.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“You murderer! How could you kill that sweet little thing? Give me my stuff.” She tried to grab the bags from his hand but dropped what she was carrying. They both bent to pick the things up and bumped heads.

“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Brent stared at her in disbelief. The popstar image was fading fast and she was looking more like one of those angry protestors he’d seen on TV.

Her hazel eyes were huge as she glared at him. “You killed that helpless animal.”

“Yeah, I shot a deer. So what? I eat venison.”

“Is that even legal?”

“Lady, what planet did you beam down from? Of course it’s legal. Everybody eats venison here.”

“Not everyone! Not me!” She picked up her things and stomped back to her car but there was no place to put anything. She threw him a disgusted look, frowned, shook her head. She opened the back door and punched and pushed and shoved her belongings, desperate to cram her things into the Corolla’s back seat. No room. She squeezed out a growl of frustration, and looked back at Brent again. Her shoulders sagged and that’s when the tears came.

He blew out a long breath. “Look. Nothing is going to happen to your stuff in the back of my truck. The deer won’t do anything to it. You don’t even have to think about it being there. We’ll load up and you can follow me to Masset.” He waited and she appeared to mull that over. It was taking too long. “Oh, piss on it. This was a mistake. I’m leaving. You can wait for another car to pull over to pack your stuff to Masset for you. I don’t need this shit.”

She wiped her eyes with the back of her wrist and sniffed. “No wait! Yes, okay. Would you please bring my stuff for me? I guess I have to trust that you won’t take off with my belongings.”

“Have to trust me?! Jeezus you’ve got some bloody nerve. What the hell would I want your stuff for?” Brent turned to get into the truck.

“Please.” She closed her eyes and pulled herself up straight. “I’m sorry. I do need your help. If you could take some of my things in your truck…. I do trust you.”

“This is the only road that goes up or down the island, so you won’t lose sight of your boxes.” What does she think I’d do with a bunch of ladies’ clothes? Christ! What a loonie! How did I get myself mixed up with this nutcase?

“Of course. You’re right.”

“Where in Masset are you headed?”

“The teachers’ trailer court,” she said.

He straightened up and inhaled a long slow breath through his nose. Oh man. One of those! “That explains a lot.”

Find MARLIE on amazon and smashwords.