Hello and welcome to the November issue of Aphelion Webzine!
Some nights it's so dark the road seems t' swallow your
headlights like a hungry monster. You wind up leanin' up in your seat,
just t' see th' lines on the road better. Looks almost like th' whole
world ends just beyond th' edge of your vision. No moon, clouds
blottin' out th' stars, no streetlights or stores to break th' endless,
hungry night. That's what tonight was like. A starvin' monster, suckin'
up all the light in th' universe...
That's an example of dialog using a moderately-heavy accent to
convey a bit more information about your character to your reader.
Somewhat better than an opening info-dump where you might simply tell
your reader that your character is from the Southern US. Probably
Texas, if the dropped final letters to some words is anything by which
to judge, but generally Southern, in any case. The thicker the accent,
the more apostrophes you'd have to employ. This is one of the trickier
tools in a writer's toolbox. It's easy to over-indulge in written
accents. You run the risk of losing your reader's attention as they
slow down their reading to puzzle out how the character's voice is
supposed to sound.
For best effect, your accented character should be played off
against one without an accent. That way the contrast between the two
stands out more clearly. You don't have to have another character to
play off against, though. You can have entire pages of dialog between
characters who all have accents, but your readers might get tired of
struggling through totally accurate phonetic reproduction of an accent.
If you over-do the accent, you wind up giving your reader what amounts
to a foreign language to puzzle out. Anything that slows your reader
down is best used lightly and infrequently.
Other versions of writing in accents are to use misspelled words, or
malapropisms, or to leave out the spaces between some words as if the
characters are used to running those together into a single word.
Another version would drop words from a totally different language into
the dialog--French, Spanish, German, Yiddish, and so on. An accent can
be used to give your characters more--well, character
so to speak. When you get it right, the words just flow and the
character becomes more alive in your reader's minds. When you get it
wrong, you run the risk of a reader giving up in exasperation, never to
actually finish reading your story.
I suppose you could think of accents as if they were different
pigments on a painter's palette. Thick, heavy accents are oil paints.
Lighter accents are watercolors. Writing while using that sort of
concept equates to painters using mixed media. Another way to think
about accents is that they are akin to different costumes for your
characters to wear. Cowboy hats, or a tuxedo, or plaid flannel
shirts--that sort of thing, but remember, an accent is something that
needs to come from within the character. Not some sort of fancy gloss
painted atop them, but part of who they are.
I suppose my message is best boiled down to accents can help bring a character to life, but if overdone can just as easily smother them.
Don't avoid the use of accents, but do try and make the ones you use
appear natural to that particular character. Your Writer's Toolbox
should always be kept full, and your tools sharp and polished. Read
many different sorts of writing. Not just what you enjoy most, but
things totally out of your comfort zone as well. Everything you read,
everything you see, everything you hear becomes a resource to draw upon
while you are writing. A character's voice can be a powerful addition
to your reader's enjoyment of your work.
First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the
Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine.
As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be useful
while we transition between e-mailing lists. Given our different
locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss
production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us
using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room
Music Page This is my promo page here at Aphelion. All the links
below, and more information about the albums, are located here.
Bank On A Learning Curve CD on the Create Space
website. My first
album, with a wide range of styles and genres, covering the past three
years of my working with the MAGIX Music Maker programs.
Helping CD on the Create Space website. My second album,
as wide a range of different musical styles, showing just how much I've
learned in the past three years.
Page on the Bandcamp website. Digital downloads of the albums,
or each individual song if you prefer it that way. Just click on the
album cover thumbnails and you'll see a list of each song on the album.
Next to the song titles are links to read the liner notes, or to
download the individual song. You can listen to each song for free.
There is also a link to download each entire album at one go. I cannot
say enough about Bandcamp! This is an amazing website. I have Rob, and
many other friends, to thank for finally talking me into checking it
Here are some links to pages I have up promoting my music. When my
book comes out I'll add those links to the promotion page, too. So far,
there are links on that page to the Create Space Preview songs, the
Create Space page for each album, the Amazon.com listings, and the link
to the digital downloads page.
And here's a link to my Sound Cloud page:
Dan's Sound Cloud
Page where all my music has been stored for your free listening
pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the
CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having
everything collected together in one place.
Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you
hear. And once again, thank you for your time,
Dan all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure.
These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on
Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything
collected together in one place.
Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what
you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,
ON THE COVER
Title: Hubble Watches Super
Star Create Holiday Light Show.
Photo Credit: NASA,
ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-Hubble/Europe