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Watching Grey’s Anatomy, this past week, I caught Kevin McKidd's accent slip when he said "anythin" in his native Scottish brogue.  I stopped the show just to run to Google and find out where he was from.   

It reminded me that we have to be careful when using dialect and colloquialisms in our writing.  If your southern belle drops a yous guys, in the middle of a monologue about her days growing up in Montgomery, the brake lights are bound to light up.

For the same reason, if Troy uses ain’t in chapter 3, unless he is making a point or went to finishing school, he should still use ain’t consistently in chapter 11.  Another thing to keep consistent is idiomatic spellings.  If dey talk like dis, make sure dey always talk dat away.  ‘Cessive use o’ short’nd words can be ver’ d’stracting, but again, if you use, them, then use them consistently.

I love language and dialect.  Used well, a writer can create an authentic world that the reader can walk around in and enjoy.  Used poorly, the reader will encounter a world where buildings have only windows.  Unless your goal is to confuse and frustrate your reader, make sure there are doors in every building.

Keep writing my friends!





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