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Writer’s Retreat

Writing Techniques

You have a thought and maybe even a character—now what? If you want to write a book but are unsure where to go from there, you’ve come to the right spot. 


Learn the techniques used by fellow writers to help you write a page turner.  

First Topic:

One of our authors received this comment about writing to indicate dialect…please note what the editor said and respond with your viewpoint.

Do you agree? If so, do you agree with the editor’s suggestion on how to express dialect?

If you don’t agree, why not?

What about other dialects? Southern, British, French, etc. How would you express them in written form?

Let us know what you think!


Many of your characters speak African American Vernacular English, which is fine, but you’ve attempted to render their accent by misspelling standard English. This is called writing in “eye dialect,” and you should limit it because it’s demeaning; remember, you’re not just saying that Charlesetta or Mr. Pettigrew don’t speak properly—some readers may infer that Black people CAN’T speak properly (despite the fact that Jenna clearly can). And it doesn’t even achieve the effect you’re shooting for, which is replicating your Black character’s accent. For example, on page 11 Mr. Pettigrew says “You didn’t spend the day pluckin’ that damn guitar did you?” When you read this out loud, it sounds exactly like “You didn’t spend the day pluckin’ that damn guitar, did you?” So misspelling every other word has not changed the way the reader “hears” the dialogue in his head. Simply changing “plucking” to “pluckin’ ” is enough to remind us the accent is there.