Creating Speech

I frequently talk to myself, especially when supermarket shopping. I read the list aloud, encourage myself when I can’t seem to find what I want, and mutter quietly when people block the aisle with their trolleys whilst chatting. I have to admit to occasionally doing that myself – sorry.
Talking aloud whilst writing is something I find invaluable when I’m writing speech. I listen to the construction of the sentence, and whether someone would actually use those words. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of trying to sound clever or literary by using words sourced from the thesaurus. Would your character, or any character use some of those words?  A Stephen Fry  type character would, undoubtedly! 
When I speak aloud, in my head I’m hearing the character’s voice. Hence, if my character is male, I hear a male voice. This doesn’t mean I have to mimic a male voice, you understand, his voice infiltrates my head. Fortunately, I can hear their voices even if I don’t speak aloud, which is useful for times when I’m not alone. How annoying would I be to the rest of the family, otherwise.
One part of speech writing I don’t use is dialect. It is something I don’t like to come across when I’m reading a novel. Personally, I find it jars when I read it. It doesn’t flow well and I find it distracting. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use it if it helps identify your character, I just prefer not to. However, I think it should not be over used as it can upset the reading rhythm.
It shouldn’t be necessary to use ‘he said, she said’ all through the speech, because it should be clear to the reader which character is speaking. If the dialogue is moving the story along and is fairly long, then dropping in a ‘s/he said’ periodically would help the reader keep track. Also remember, that using the other person’s name in a speech can sound unnatural. Think how many times you actually use your spouse’s/partner’s name in a conversation.
I’ve just finished the second edit of ‘Attic of the Mind’. I spent Sunday alone so I could finish the last 100 pages. Needless to say, I spent much of the day conversing with my characters.
I hope whatever you are writing or editing is going well.
Happy Word Flow One & All

2 thoughts on “Creating Speech

  1. This is great advice Hemmie. I just finished writing a post with dialogue, and the next time I am going to do just this. Speak aloud!

    Note that I talk to myself at the supermarket too!


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