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writing someone who stammers (1 Viewer)

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
In my next project (just barely over the horizon) the MC will be a man that stammers. Has anyone here written such a person? If so, any pointers?
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I just did some research on it. The consensus seemed to advise introducing the idea to the reader, but don't overdo it when you write the dialogue. If possible, it's better to only have the impediment come up in certain situations, like when the character is nervous. Even if you include it more frequently, don't lean on it for an entire sentence. Start it out a sentence with the stammer and then drop it.

The reasoning is that it's annoying to plow through as a reader, and distracting.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
The MC will only have this affliction in the first chapter, the “cure” is where the story lies.
Is this a normally-occurring stutter or does it have a distinct cause? (Since you're 'curing' it I'm wondering if it's not entirely normal in how we think of stutters)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Is this a normally-occurring stutter or does it have a distinct cause? (Since you're 'curing' it I'm wondering if it's not entirely normal in how we think of stutters)

It's a bit of scifi. He'll have a chip implanted in the speech center of his brain which will buffer his speech. The chip will auto update to improve function via the internet - the zany thing is that an intelligence lives in the chip and had its own agenda.
 

K.S. Crooks

Senior Member
A coupe things that are common to those who stutter:
A certain letter in a certain place may be the issue- words that start with "B" or end in "T" for example.
The beginning of a sentence
When answering a question or being nervous
Many stutterers lose the stutter when acting or imitating someone. When they speak with someone else's voice they use a different part of the brain.
Singing also uses a different region of the brain than the speech centers, thus a person who has difficulty speaking can work around it by singing their phrases.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
A coupe things that are common to those who stutter:
A certain letter in a certain place may be the issue- words that start with "B" or end in "T" for example.
The beginning of a sentence
When answering a question or being nervous
Many stutterers lose the stutter when acting or imitating someone. When they speak with someone else's voice they use a different part of the brain.
Singing also uses a different region of the brain than the speech centers, thus a person who has difficulty speaking can work around it by singing their phrases.

Years ago I worked with a guy that stuttered - he was also a musician and sang beautifully.

As usual everyone has been extremely helpful, and I think I have what I need... for now.

Thanks to all!
 

Lorewen

Senior Member
Have you seen The King's Speech? It was a major starting point for my research into stuttering for one of my own MC's, and based on what else I was able to find, it looks like the portrayal of the problem is fairly accurate.
 

Megan Pearson

Senior Member
Might want to Google speech therapy techniques as well, just to understand your premise material better. Not all causes of stuttering are the same, thus not all cures are the same, too. Granted, your tech device cures this, but how? The human brain just isn't equipped to handle a plug-in device like a data port. If I were the reader, I'd want to know does this thing interface not only with the brain's speech center but with vision, hearing, memory, autonomous muscle function of the throat and larynx, higher brain functions, emotions, and everything else that's involved in both receiving, decoding, and coding spoken messages.

But then, I tend to ask more questions than I get answers for. (I guess that's what 'artistic license' is for?)

On another note, a couple of years ago my husband was reading a thriller where the mc had a stutter. It really played not only the mc's character development but the plotline as well--so far as I remember about it. If I can come up with the title, I'll pass it along.
 

Megan Pearson

Senior Member
How could I forget? I think the mc in Flowers for Algernon may have had a stutter, too. Might be another resource for you, as it, too, is tied not only to the character arc but also to the plot.
 

Megan Pearson

Senior Member
The important thing is to get a consistent rhythm for your charachter's speech pattern as illustrated in this old song:
@Bloggsworth: oh my gosh, that is so cool that you found this! When we would visit my father-in-law in the nursing home, the staff there told us to play music for him as it would help trigger memories, despite his dementia. When we played K-K-K-Katy for him, he would just come to life, saying over and over, "my dad played that song all the time when I was a boy!" Thanks for finding it!
 

Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
@Bloggsworth: oh my gosh, that is so cool that you found this! When we would visit my father-in-law in the nursing home, the staff there told us to play music for him as it would help trigger memories, despite his dementia. When we played K-K-K-Katy for him, he would just come to life, saying over and over, "my dad played that song all the time when I was a boy!" Thanks for finding it!
Ah! I had a Great-Aunt Kate and when young used to sing it for her.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I've also done some research about what it FEELS like to stammer, which is critical to my character's POV. There's a lot of frustration - the word is there, but they can't force it out.
 
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