17 February 2016, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 593, Accents Styles of Grammar Q and A
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 26th novel, working title, Shape, is this: Mrs. Lyons captures a shape-shifting girl in her pantry and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Escape from Freedom. Escape is my 25th novel.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I’m on my first editing run-through of Shape.
I’m an advocate of using the/a scene input/output method to drive the rising action–in fact, to write any novel.
- Scene input (easy)
- Scene output (a little harder)
- Scene setting (basic stuff)
- Creativity (creative elements of the scene)
- Tension (development of creative elements to build excitement)
- Release (climax of creative elements)
I can immediately discern three ways to invoke creativity:
- Historical extrapolation
- Technological extrapolation
- Intellectual extrapolation
Creativity is like an extrapolation of what has been. It is a reflection of something new created with ties to the history, science, and logic (the intellect). Creativity requires consuming, thinking, and producing.
One of my blog readers posed these questions. I’ll use the next few weeks to answer them.
- Conflict/tension between characters
- Character presentation (appearance, speech, behavior, gestures, actions)
- Change, complexity of relationship, and relation to issues/theme
- Evolving vs static character
- Language and style
- Verbal, gesture, action
- Words employed
- Sentence length
- Type of grammar
- Field of reference or allusion
- Tone – how tone is created through diction, rhythm, sentence construction, sound effects, images created by similes, syntax/re-arrangement of words in sentence, the inflections of the silent or spoken voice, etc.
- Mannerism suggested by speech
- Distinct manner of writing or speaking you employ, and why (like Pinter’s style includes gaps, silences, non-sequitors, and fragments while Chekhov’s includes ‘apparent’ inconclusiveness).
Moving on to 10. 10. Type of grammar
Here are some examples of the use of accents in English (dialects of different types of grammar). This first example comes from Essie. Seasaìdh is Scottish and speaks with a Scottish brogue. Notice that I use the very slightest changes in grammar and word usage possible to convey this. Notice how it increases just as Claire describes.
Mrs. Lyons shook her head, “You should, and you should enjoy yourself while you’re here. What would you like to do?”
Seasaìdh rolled her eyes, “I dunna what to do with myself if I’m not cleaning.”
Claire laughed, “Aunt Seasaìdh always sounds more Scottish when she gets upset.”
Seasaìdh frowned, “Oh, that’s how you can all tell.”
Then in that vein, here is another example:
Aunt Tilly returned her teacup to its saucer, “Essie was abandoned, and I decided to give her a family and a place to live. It is as simple as that.”
Into her tea, Seasaìdh whispered, “It isn’t as simple as that…”
Mrs. Lyons raised her head, “What did you say, Seasaìdh?”
“Twas noth’n. I’m happy she is here to help you. We’ve been worried about you liv’n alone out here.”
Here is an entirely different example of such an accent and conversation: This comes from the yet unpublished Shadow of Light novel.
Lumière placed her portfolio and the envelope on his desk. Mr. Long tore immediately into the envelope. He pulled out the long letter and read it. His eyes widened as he read. After a moment he noted Lumière’s attention and covered his face with the paper. Mr. Long took a deep breath, put down the letter, and opened Lumière’s portfolio. He looked up at her under his brows, “Your portfolio is very thin for your background. Have you had an opportunity to memorize it?”
“Most of the ones I get are all false.” He smiled, but didn’t look at her. Mr. Long’s smile widened and widened as he read through the portfolio. Finally Lumière could see all his teeth. He turned his gaze up at her and chewed thoughtfully at his lips, “You speak French and are a French citizen. You could act as though you are a secretary. You are an expert in Chinese—and I mean an expert.” He turned his head then rolled his eyes back at her, “Can you fake a French accent and do it twenty-four hours, seven days a week?”
“Y-yes.” Lumière faked a French accent, “I think I can. It is not how I was trained to speak.”
“Have you ever been trained as an agent?”
“A spy, you mean?”
Mr. Long nodded.
“Yes, of course, honestly.”
Mr. Long jerked upright and leaned forward, “Very good, but we don’t use the term ‘spy’ around here—we say ‘agent.’ That is the official term.” He put his finger alongside his nose, “Here is what you will do. I am going to put you in place as the secretary for Sir Reginald Bower. He is a lecher and a woman chaser. He would love to have a beautiful French secretary.”
Lumière sat up straight, “Really sir!”
“Continue with the fake French accent. You are marvelously beautiful. Didn’t you know?”
“Really Mr. Long I’m sure I have heard that before, but it is really tedious. What about Sir Reginald being a lecher.”
“You needn’t worry about that. He is henpecked, his wife has him on a short lease, and he is attracted to ugly floozies. He just loves to be seen with beautiful women. You will be the perfect secretary for him. Now, Sir Reginald is an important British diplomat to China.” Mr. Long stood up and moved his hands in response to his words, “You are French. You speak English just well enough to get along.” He stared at her and raised his brow, “Do you need to take notes. I never forget. You must not forget. If you break the protocol I give you, you’re out. Understand?”
“Yes. I understand. I will not forget.”
“Now listen, you are beautiful and slightly provocative.”
“I am generally not intentionally provocative.”
“I said slightly provocative. You must be very attractive. You don’t need to act too bright. I want no suspicion placed on you from any side. You are a silly French secretary hired for your looks.”
“I have an injured leg and I croak like a crow.”
“You are one of the unfortunate injured during the war. This will make you more beautiful to some, pathetic to others, and answer the question of why you aren’t already married to a rich Frenchman.” He gestured at her, “Just keep up that fake accent. Now, you must not let anyone know that you are conversant in Chinese. You are to listen.” He stared at her again and squinted his eyes.
“Nice roll there. Very French sounding.”
“I am French.”
“But you sound so British. No more, right? And no one gets an inkling that you understand Chinese, not a word. I insist that you act the typical French tourist when you interact with the Chinese. Is this really clear?”
“Oui, Monsieur Long, that is very clear.”
“You may use bad grammar, if you desire. Sir Reginald won’t care a wit if you can write or type or any of those things. You must be able to make good tea and coffee and shake a drink every now and then…and listen. I most need you mostly to listen.”
“Let me hear that marvelous French accent.”
“Oui, Monsieur Long, you are very clear. I understand.”
He smiled, “Now as to your reporting. You report only to me. However, you will not send your reports directly to me. I will provide you the address and the office symbol of where to transmit all your communications. You will place them in an inner envelope with my name on it. The address and office symbol will be on the outer envelope. Seal both.” He wrote out on a sheet of paper the current reporting address and office symbol. “In the case you need to report and it is an emergency, come directly to me. When you are out of the country, I will provide you a safety contact.”
“Monsieur Long, whom do you plan for me to listen to?”
Mr. Long smiled again, “Well anyone who speaks Chinese, first of all. Any conversations of interest to the British government, secondly. We are very concerned about some of our translation staff and translators. We are also concerned that we fully understand what the Chinese are saying to us and what we are saying to them. You are an agent and a full field operative, an agent of MI19. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t use that title—the organization. Is this clear?”
The above example is how I recommend you handle accents in English—especially, inadvertent accents. Here is a negative example from The Fox’s Honor. My editor was happy, but in retrospect, I don’t like this. I would handle it different with what I know now. This is the only incident or accent in this novel. This novel is published.
Sir Roger made a personal visit to Baron Herstet, the Emperor’s spaceport administrator. Three of his combat soldiers accompanied Roger. Baron Herstet was a large man of a stern disposition. When Roger entered the Baron’s office, Herstet simply waved the younger Falkeep to a seat and continued his viewphone conversation. After five minutes, Roger received an encoded signal from his elder brother. That indicated the spaceport was entirely cut off and their fleet had taken the orbital port. Baron Herstet’s viewer suddenly went blank.
“Hey, vat’s dat,” snarled the Baron. He yelled at his secretary, “Get me repair, right now.” When she didn’t respond, he looked at Roger and seemed to notice him for the first time, “Vell, vat are you smiling about, young Roger?”
“I’m sorry, my lord Baron, but repair won’t do you any good. My brother George cut off your communications.”
“Vell it’s about time. I’d hoped you’d been here yesterday.” The Baron stood up and proffered his large paw-like hand toward Roger, “I’m a retainer of Duke Rathenberg. I am at your service. Tell your vater dat I vill gladly swear my fealty to him. And dat he doesn’t have to pay de land’n fees anymore if he gives me back my communications in de next ten minutes.”
With a large smile on his face, Roger took the offered hand and clasped it. The Baron gave him back a large smile also, and with a firm shake released Roger’s hand and turned again to the viewer.
Roger called up his brother on the portable radio. In a few moments, with a crackle of static, Baron Herstet’s viewer came on.
“Dat’s better,” beamed the Baron, “I don’t dink dis cost us even a single credit in lost time, but I’ll tell you later ven I can figure the numbers out myself.” The Baron turned a rueful eye toward Roger. “Go on. You’ve done vat you needed to do. It’s possibly cost us some money, but vat’s done is done.”
So much for types of grammar in English.
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