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I Need Help To Maintain Grammar Inconsistencies (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
My problem is with the voice of Fiddlesticks. I write grammar instinctively and don't always know the rules. That's fine for getting grammar right but with Fiddlesticks, I need to know certain rules in order to make his voice consistently incorrect, if that makes sense. I haven't written much dialogue so far so all I can do is post that. I'm hoping someone with a good grasp of grammar rules can explain to me what rules I'm breaking ... This is so weird ...

“Awake at last is it? I was beginnin’ to think you’d be a bent back and a shovel for little old Fiddlesticks. Aint no one got desert time to be wastin’ on lolly folk. But you … maybe.”

“Oh … well … you aint gonna find that now then are you.” Fiddlesticks said. “I wasn’t born wet.”

“A gun you have and yet you doubt? The sands carry but the most determined souls, and respect is mine for those. Your friend is safe.’

“Funny storm me thinks. Gods sharpening teeth on the earth, rumble hungry and fat. No wet, just dry like the ground and sharp like the stone.”

“Tisn’t tin bought this. I’d spin a wheel on it.” He tapped it gently. “I’d bet me last tooth this cost a sack spillin’ with Grens.”

“Says I weren’t born wet.” Fiddlesticks said, after he’d refilled his lungs. “Now you think me a dousin’. What you gonna say ’bout this ’ere scribble?” He pointed to an insignia engraved into the pearl—a circle cut in half with each half offset. “You take innards from a crow real easy like, but part Riftshifters from artefacts and a dirt roof you’d ’ave.” He pointed to the saddle. “Same scribble it has on the pommel. More gamblin’?”

“Ain’t had stew like this forever,” he said. “Gifts flutter in and we snag ’em, pluck ’em, boil ’em and eat ’em. Tickles your tongue it does.”

“Snail it,” Fiddlesticks said and summoned his blade with a finger. “There is still questions askin’ for answers.”
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
Nothing? I desperately need to know what I'm doing here in terms of grammar. I'm breaking rules but without fully understanding what rules I'm breaking, I can't be consistently inconsistent. Fiddlesticks is going to be an integral part of the story and so will feature a hell of a lot. I don't want him to say something in a way that isn't consistent with earlier grammatical mistakes. He's also likely to be the central character in the second book ... Yeah, this thing keeps growing in my head.

I know it's a difficult ask but I'm pretty much inventing a whole new grammatical structure here and feel out of my depth.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Is Fiddlesticks putting the actions before the nouns consistently?
Great stuff! This gives me something to latch onto. I know this sounds arbitrary but I don't think about grammar when I write. If it sounds right, it tends to be right. Anything else?
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
You seem to be leaving off the H in some of the words, but you're inconsistent with it. Does he have a difficult time pronouncing Hs? Other than that, all I can see is the changing of my to me whenever it comes up.

He's like an Irish Yoda.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
You seem to be leaving off the H in some of the words, but you're inconsistent with it. Does he have a difficult time pronouncing Hs? Other than that, all I can see is the changing of my to me whenever it comes up.

He's like an Irish Yoda.
LOL. I was doing my best to avoid that. Yeah, stuff like dropping 'H' is pretty straightforward and easy to be consistent with, as is using 'ain't' or dropping the 'g'.

So basically, I'm just putting actions before verbs? He has his little ways of saying things too, like 'lolly folk' (meaning stupid people) and 'snail it' (meaning slow down), but that's just a matter of making notes.
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
That's the big thing that sticks out for me.

Normal folk - He was walking down the street.
Fiddlesticks - Walkin' the street 'e was.

Obviously, this is my opinion. You're going to write it however you feel.
Naaa, man, it's important that you give me your thoughts on this. I'll write it with the consistency you point out. I've got something to think on now when writing future dialogue, and that's exactly what I needed.
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
Hi Az. Great question. I spent a month trying to figure out what grammar rules authors like Brown and Rollins were following, then I gave up.

Then I realized that as long as a phrase makes sense, you can kind of do whatever you want. That's in my just-published (or soon to be published) book The Hidden Grammar of English. (See my signature.) If you were following any pattern other than that, I couldn't see it.

Let me back up. To the extent that you understand grammatical structure, you can use that to give a character a different voice. Yoda has been said to be a combination of left dislocation and inverted phrase order. (Discussion here, in April Fool's Day format.) Often it's something ordinary, like making a child sound like a child.

But I can't find any pattern for you. Just a lot of ungrammaticisms.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Hi Az. Great question. I spent a month trying to figure out what grammar rules authors like Brown and Rollins were following, then I gave up.

Then I realized that as long as a phrase makes sense, you can kind of do whatever you want. That's in my just-published (or soon to be published) book The Hidden Grammar of English. (See my signature.) If you were following any pattern other than that, I couldn't see it.

Let me back up. To the extent that you understand grammatical structure, you can use that to give a character a different voice. Yoda has been said to be a combination of left dislocation and inverted phrase order. (Discussion here, in April Fool's Day format.) Often it's something ordinary, like making a child sound like a child.

But I can't find any pattern for you. Just a lot of ungrammaticisms.
Thank you. I think if I concentrate on switching the actions/nouns and have consistency with dropping letters such as 'h' and 'g', as well as throwing in a few Fiddlesticks specific phrases like 'snail it' and 'lolly folk', I should be OK. I just find it daunting because of the amount of dialogue I'm going to be giving him.
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
you aint gonna find that now then are you.

The now and then are probably too much for grammar to handle, and they illustrate how we can just add those words to sentences without grammar.

Funny storm me thinks

Obviously wrong case (should be I instead of me); Inverted order, normal order is to start with me thinks; and I think dropping a pronoun (prodrop), which Fiddlesticks seems to do frequently.

The other character is also inverting order: "A gun you have"

“Says I weren’t born wet.”

Prodrop again; the verb tenses are "wrong".

So, no pattern except breaking the rules.

You do a really nice job of making his speech vivid. So Fiddlesticks has seemingly poor grammar skills, but also a somewhat amazing verbal fluency. Hmmm, that might be a consistent pattern, and it might be the effect you were looking for. (But the other character seems to do that too.)

That's fine for getting grammar right but with Fiddlesticks . . .

That's missing a comma, grammatically speaking. I don't know what you mean by "getting grammar right". I differentiate English Grammar (the rules that everyone pretty much agrees on when they write grammar rules) and Writer's Grammar (which includes the ungrammaticisms that writers use so often they seem grammatical). The best you can do without studying grammar is Writer's Grammar; since you shouldn't be always following English Grammar, that's not a problem. Fiddlesticks is way outside Writer's Grammar.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
The now and then are probably too much for grammar to handle, and they illustrate how we can just add those words to sentences without grammar.

I reckon I'm going to change 'you' to 'ya'. It's something Fiddlesticks would use.

Obviously wrong case (should be I instead of me); Inverted order, normal order is to start with me thinks; and I think dropping a pronoun (prodrop), which Fiddlesticks seems to do frequently.

Yeah, 'me' instead of 'I' is an easy one for me. A lot of people use that where I come from so it's second nature.

The other character is also inverting order: "A gun you have"

I saw you mention this below too. This is all Fiddlesticks dialogue. There isn't another character here. Yarrod talks normally and Stitch (a crow) talks in small staccato sentences, often missing words: 'Storm's two day out'.

Prodrop again; the verb tenses are "wrong".

This is one I have to keep my eye on to make sure it's consistent.

So, no pattern except breaking the rules.

You do a really nice job of making his speech vivid. So Fiddlesticks has seemingly poor grammar skills, but also a somewhat amazing verbal fluency. Hmmm, that might be a consistent pattern, and it might be the effect you were looking for. (But the other character seems to do that too.)

Thank you. As I said above though, there aren't any other characters here. Just Fiddlesticks. The aim is to be ungrammatical but at the same time give him a poetic lilt.

That's missing a comma, grammatically speaking. I don't know what you mean by "getting grammar right". I differentiate English Grammar (the rules that everyone pretty much agrees on when they write grammar rules) and Writer's Grammar (which includes the ungrammaticisms that writers use so often they seem grammatical). The best you can do without studying grammar is Writer's Grammar; since you shouldn't be always following English Grammar, that's not a problem. Fiddlesticks is way outside Writer's Grammar.
 
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