Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quotes, Yea or Nay?

While reading a novel the other day, I noticed that each chapter started with a quote. The quotes were either from a poem or something a famous person said that may have been relevant to the chapter or the novel as a whole.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like it, (but who cares what I think, right?). I get it. I’ve seen quotes and songs that seem to speak to the novel I’m working on.

Still, I don’t like it. *folds arms over chest like a stubborn toddler*

It pulls me out of the story. As someone who is naming each chapter in my current novel with a specific title, even that pulls me out of the story somewhat. I’ll take that over the quote, especially if it’s long. I’ve seen some chapters start with a quote that’s a good five lines long. If I’m reading the book, I skip right over this. If I’m listening to the book, it annoys me that I have to sit through this before I can get back into the story. I don’t mind them in the very beginning, and have seen occasions where the quote has fit so well that I’m a little jealous-lol. Not much, though.

So what I want to know is how do you all feel about quotes? Do you use them in your writing? Do you read them at the start of each chapter, or are you like me and breeze right past them?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


One of the characters in my new wip develops a medical condition that I needed to research. Fortunately, I work in a hospital with three of the greatest doctors I’ve ever met, so I don’t have to only go by what I find on the internet.

Doing research is always fun, well, most times. I like learning new things, but research for novels seems different to me. It can sometimes shape the way a story is told. While gathering information on this medical condition, (Atrial Fibrillation), I’ve had to go back and add minor things to the story, like the way my character reacts, physically and emotionally to strenuous activity. And learning about this condition has helped me fine tune the ending.

The one thing I’ve discovered about doing research for novels is that I usually have far more information than I’ll ever need. I’d rather have it that way then the other way around. Still, having more than needed is good for back story. Just recently, I had to research, “How to cook a possum,” for this wip. Let’s just say, it was SCARY!

How much research do you do when crafting a novel? And do you trust what you find on the internet?

Monday, October 3, 2011

How Much Broken English is too Much?

Let me explain. As writers, we all know that real people don’t speak in complete sentences, or often times with complete words. My current wip has a lot of broken English in the dialogue. The main male character is a—for lack of a better word—hillbilly.

On a side note, most of my friends and family knows that I am terribly afraid of hillbillies. I suffer from Hillbill-a-phobia, if you will. I’m not just speaking of country/southern people. Some of my closest friends and family are county/southern. I’m talking about the people who view the film DELIVERANCE as a how-to manual. Those are the people who scare the ba-jesus out of me. So, it’s a shock to people when I tell them I’m working on a story where the love interest is a hillbilly. Hell, it shocked me too!

So anyway, this boy slaughters the English language every time he opens his mouth. I don’t want to have a bunch of garbled dialogue in this story where my readers will be scratching their heads and will eventually put the book down because they can’t understand what one of the main characters is saying.

I think about it like how J.K. Rowling wrote Hagrid. He butchered words, but he didn’t have much dialogue, as he wasn’t one of the main three characters in the Potter series.

Fortunately, my male lead is a quiet guy, usually speaking in clipped sentences. Below is an exchange between the male lead and some of the other hillbilly boys. Let me know what you think.

Wulf holds up his hand, and all talking stops. “Despite the fact that y’all seem ready to fetch the preacher man so’s he can marry you, she gone. Whatchu want me to do ‘bout it? Now think hard ‘fore you answer that.” Several seconds of silence linger in the wake of his question.
Samuel-Adam is the first to speak. “I liked her. Bring’er back.”
A scatter of agreement follows the five year olds’ demand. Wulf sighs and rolls his eyes toward the ceiling.
“I’m gonna close my door and get on wit’ my nap. When y’all come up wit’ a plan—a logical plan—wake me.”
Fitch glares Wulf. “You don’t seem like you care at all that she gone.”
“I don’t.”
Have you had a situation like this, where a lot of your dialogue needs to reflect and accent, slang, or poor grammar? How did you handle it?