I’m using a surprising amount of dialect in my current project. Why surprising? Because dialect usually pisses me off. I’ve seen it so thick in some books that it becomes hard to parse, sort of like the story was written by lolcats.
However, sometimes the level of dialect can be just right as with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. That’s more of the direction I’m aiming for. I’ve used dialect in dialogue before, but now I’m slipping it into the narrative, too.
Take the following sentence from my project: “If a body stopped in the night on the side of the road and had to get out to do…whatever, he turned the radio down before he did.” I wouldn’t normally use that “body,” but I slipped it in for a sense of dialect, just to make the tone more country.
Eh, I’m still not sure if I like it. I’m afraid that as I gain momentum with my project, hurtling toward the finish line as it were, I’m dropping my dialect in my narrative, but keeping it in dialogue. Nothing to say I can’t inject it as needed later, much like I do with description, another aspect of story-telling that gets lost as I hurry to finish a first draft while I’m still “feeling it.”
What about you? Pro dialect? Or do you like your narrative told in a more neutral style? What do you leave out of your first drafts that you know you’ll have to amp up later?