Five Ways Accents and Dialects Help A Fiction Story

Dialects and accents are potent tools writers use to infuse life into characters in a story. As a writer, you may use dialects and accents in dialogues to portray a character’s origin, societal status, cultural background, educational level, and even professional affiliations. However, it is essential to use these writing tools appropriately to avoid bruising your reader’s ego, which may come off as offensive.

In our daily conversations with people, we can easily use the way a person speaks or pronounces certain words to ascertain the tribe and race he belongs to. For instance, in the Nigerian setting, when a writer wants to depict a character from any of the major ethnic groups in the country, he carefully considers the dialects and accents to attach to the character based on the selected ethnic group. This makes it easier for the reader to connect to the story by staring up primordial sentiments about the characters as he reads on.

 Before we move further, let’s establish what accents and dialects are.

WHAT IS AN ACCENT?

An accent is a distinctive or unique way of pronouncing a word that is associated with, or that can be traced to a particular country, region, tribe or social class. It is what signposts someone’s race, ethnicity, and sometimes educational background without necessarily making inquiries from the person. For example, an accent is what makes you decipher that Suleiman is from Northern Nigeria and that Wayne is British from their first sentences.

WHAT IS A DIALECT?

A Dialect is a language peculiar to people from a particular geographical location. It is the lingua franca of a particular region, tribe, race, or nationality, or simply put, it is how people speak their mother tongue. Dialect is distinguished by features like pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary from various regional or geographical groups, which constitutes a single language. For instance, the Ibibio language (a language spoken by the Ibibio ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State, South-South, Nigeria) has some slight differences in pronunciation of words from the Annang language (a language spoken by the Annang ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State, South-South, Nigeria). However, indigenes of the two tribes understand each other vividly.

Having established what accents and dialects are, let’s go back to the meat of this article, which is five ways accents and dialects help a fiction story.

There are many ways accents and dialects help a fiction story. But in this article, we will be highlighting the five most efficient ways accents and dialects aid a fiction story.

HOW ACCENTS AND DIALECTS HELP A FICTION STORY:

  1. They serve as visual stimuli in a fiction story: accent serves as visual stimuli to a reader. The core of a good book is its ability to stir emotions and create a connection between the reader and the author. By attaching accents and dialects to the characterisation of a story, a reader is able to cast a mental picture of the story’s setting. It also helps the reader appreciate the relatable content of a book in relation to its setting. For instance, a writer who is telling a story about the bustling life of Lagos – the commercial nerve of Nigeria, will do a shabby job if he does not infuse British English, Nigerian pidgin, and Yoruba language with its intonation in the characters’ dialogues and monologues. These are the typical makeups of the interactions on the streets of Lagos.
  • They create stereotypes of the characters in a story: accents and dialects help reinforce a myth or perception of an idea or image associated with a particular group of people. A writer uses accents and dialects to cast a certain kind of prejudice about a particular group of people in a story based on the message he is passing across in his work. Accents and dialects create a contrast between the different classes of people prevalent in a certain society based on their demographic and psychological attributes, and these have proven to be very useful in satires or parodies.  
  • They give life to characters in a story: the use of accents and dialects in a story helps infuse life into the characters. It props up emotions and the relevant sentiments that are dominant in our daily interface as humans. These help stirs empathy as well as apathy in the reader’s mind towards a character’s dispositions. It elicits the author’s intended reaction from the reader.
  • Accents and dialects help bring linguistic discrepancies to the fore: the fundamental value of a literary text is its ability to introduce new ideas, concepts, paradigms, and dogmas to its reader. Through books, we are able to unravel new knowledge and information. When a writer rightly apportions accents and dialects to the characters in a book, it gives the reader insights into the linguistic variations between certain groups of persons and the languages obtainable in different geographical locations.
  • Accents and dialects increase the readership of a book: attaching accents and dialects to the characters in a story is a subtle way of surging the readership of a book. People often gravitate towards things that portray their features and peculiarity; as such, they decide what materials they consume based on their hues and affiliations. For instance, A book whose story and characters’ dialects and accents depict the African lifestyle in the United States will attract a large pull of African-American readers, yielding more sales for the author and enhancing his popularity.

Conclusively, to become an author whose publication does not gather dust on someone’s shelf, it is pertinent to employ all the elements and devices that will entice your reader when he flips through the pages of your book. One veritable way of doing this is to attach accents and dialects to the characters in your book.

What Type Of Editing Is Most Suitable For You?

Editing is simply the pruning or removal of mistakes from a communication material. It is the process of reducing errors to the barest minimum in a piece of writing, video or audio clip. Editing is what adds finesse to content across all platforms. It is the final yet most detailed stage of content production. However, in this article, we will be focusing on editing written


5 TYPES OF EDITING

There are five basic types of editing, namely developmental or substantive editing, structural editing, copy editing, line editing, and mechanical editing. These five types of editing are what is performed on a written document from the first draft to the final stage of the project. And we will be discussing them in brief detail.

1. Developmental editing: this is also called substantive editing. It is usually the median stage of the editing process. Here the editor looks at how the written manuscript coheres with the idea or the subject the writer is addressing. The main point here is logical coherence. And sometimes, it may require the editor to delete, rewrite, or make recommendations on certain things to add or remove to communicate the author’s idea better. It is very common in academic articles and research works.

2. Structural editing: structural editing is a bit similar or can be done alongside developmental editing. Here, the editor looks out for the logical flow, tone, style, and overall quality of the writing. It is essential for an organised project. It is more in-depth but also geared toward the author’s main idea and the elements that are used to convey it, such as language, tone, style, etc.

3. Copy editing: the next stage of the editing process is copy editing. After affirming the logical flow of a manuscript, the editor looks at the use of accurate grammar and how accurate words are spelt, including the suitability of the author’s language to the target audience. The editor ensures the author uses active words and that sentences are not overly long. If it is in an academic project, the editor ensures that there is uniformity in citation styles and that references are made as required.

4. Line editing: this is closely related to copy editing. In line editing, the editor checks the manuscript or text line to line to see how words are used and the effect of the writing, ensuring the writing is comprehensive. The primary interest of a line editor is clarity and simplicity. Note that simplicity here ensures the author’s idea is easy to understand without being simplistic. Line editing is important for fine-tuning any writing and should never be ignored by an author, irrespective of the project he is working on.

5. Mechanical editing: this is the final stage of the editing process. In mechanical editing, the editor reads the work thoroughly to ensure spelling, grammar, formatting, and punctuations are accurate and consistent. An editor hired for mechanical editing also checks how consistent abbreviations and capitalisations are done in the project. If it is in academic writing, he ensures consistency in referencing style.

Next time you are handling a written project, ensure you carry out these editing processes or hire a professional to take care of your editing processes if you intend to have a well-written, structured and coherent project.

How To Meet Your Writing Deadline

As a writer, meeting deadlines is the test of efficiency. It is also one yardstick for measuring a writer’s time management skills. You can chronicle amazingly sellable ideas with all the prerequisites of good writing, but if you do not deliver the project within the assigned time frame, you cannot pride yourself as an efficient writer. However, there are some thumb rules to meeting your writing deadlines.

Prioritising your writing task: In our elementary romance with economics, we were taught the basic rudiments of priority, technically referred to as ‘scale of preference’. Just like the word suggests, it entails listing your tasks in their order of significance.

As a writer working on time-bound deliverables, it is pertinent to allot the time you assign to your daily itineraries based on their order of importance. The time your client wants his project delivered is as important as how you deliver it. So appropriate the attention you give to your engagements in a way that doesn’t interfere with your writing task, especially when it is what puts food on your table.

Pragmatism: This entails dealing with things realistically. It involves handling things in a practical way, not based on theoretical considerations. The bane of many professionals is that they are good at setting and accomplishing tasks verbally, as opposed to doing so practically. Procrastination is at the core of every missed deadline. We keep scheduling and rescheduling to fit an imaginary perfect time, but ironically there is never a perfect time. You just need to start writing and keep writing.

Taking breaks: Sometimes, there is this trepidation with which a writer approaches a new project. He feels some resentment towards a certain project, especially if it is on an issue where he has shallow knowledge. When this happens, it is good to pause and engage in activities that interest you. You can see a movie, listen to music, take a walk, swim, or go on a tour to help rejuvenate your mind and gain new perspectives.

Turn down deadlines you cannot meet: Do not accept deadlines you cannot meet. What is out of reach is out of reach. Taking a project you cannot execute within the allotted time frame is shooting yourself in the leg because, at the end of the day, a disappointed client is almost a foregone client. By committing yourself to an unattainable standard, you risk damaging your self-esteem and reputation as a writer. More so, the fear of not meeting future deadlines may settle in your mind, thereby affecting your confidence to stake a claim to future projects.

Set daily benchmarks: Set daily benchmarks for word counts. You can break the total word count for a project into certain figures per day. For instance, if you are given a 7000-word book to deliver in a month, you can split your word counts into 225 words per day.

This will not only help you meet the project deadline, but will also allow you to carry out more detailed research on every idea or fact you pen down. Ensure you don’t overcommit yourself too. It is important not to set unrealistic goals; deadlines are manageable when you strive to be accountable and productive. Stay focused, and you’ll be sure to meet your deadline in time.

If you find this post helpful, comment and share. You can also tell us your worst case of meeting your writing deadline.

5 Tips To Sustain Your Reader’s Interest

Google a topic or a keyword. The first thing that grabs your attention is a relevant title or headline. It can’t be argued that the first thing that hooks you into a write-up is the title. But beyond that, a great title isn’t an automatic ticket to making your readers like your content.

Surely, an eye-catching title will make them pause, think, and even want more, but once you’ve piqued their interest, it’s left to your content to keep them to stay. It is always infuriating when you find a captivating headline/title, and a few seconds into reading the write-up, you can tell that it’s not worth your time and the title was only a clickbait.

At times, it is not a result of your content but your craftsmanship. Having a great story to tell is not all there is to writing. You need to master the art of craftsmanship, and that entails using various techniques to urge your readers to read on—that’s where the real work is! For your writing to be effective, it needs to have these two elements:

  1. The first is the attention-grabbing factor. You need to make your readers feel that your write-up is worth their time and effort.  
  2. The other factor is to sustain and eventually meet up their expectations. You need to make your content truly worth the read.

No one will pick up an article or story to read if there is no element of interest. The first factor is crucial because no matter how good your content is, it won’t be read if it doesn’t pique interest. You can’t simply say, ‘this is why you should read my book’. Let your title, paragraphs, and chapters do the explanation by being convincing enough to get your readers to read the very last word in your book.

In this article, we’ll dwell more on what comes after a great title and how you can make sure your readers stick around till the very end of your writing.

  1. Pay utmost attention to your introductory sentence: Like your title, an opening or introductory sentence performs a similar function. If your title sparked their interest, your opening sentence should continue the work. One of the ways to create a good opening sentence is to use the question technique.

Questions propel you to seek answers; it creates curiosity in a reader. When you ask a question, they either know the answer or don’t. 

If they do, they will likely want to ascertain the answer to ensure it hasn’t changed. If it’s a rhetorical question, the personal element embedded in it will awaken their curiosity. Readers who are uncertain about the answer will seek out answers in your text and will be motivated to read further.

Here is a good example:

Did you know tomatoes are fruits but are considered vegetables by a nutritionist?

  • Make your argument clear: With a good introduction, the body of your write-up should corroborate your opening sentences. Articulate and express your viewpoint with clear-cut words. You don’t want to sound uncertain or confused to your readers. Build your points logically, and let your readers see and feel what you are trying to convey without stress. Learn to simplify your ideas and break complex words into simpler words. Professionalism isn’t in the big grammar you write but in how your words can be easily interpreted and understood. Don’t be blinded by the complexity of your words. The simpler your readers comprehend, the better it is.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs: Long sentences or paragraphs are difficult to comprehend easily. Having too many words and ideas embedded in one sentence or paragraph can be an overload. Think of it this way: you are trying to listen to a friend that talks too fast without catching his breath; how long can you enjoy such a conversation? The truth is, you would likely miss some information that he’d say.

That’s the same effect lengthy sentences and paragraphs have on your readers. They may pick up your article and get overwhelmed, which can be mentally tiring. If your paragraphs are short, simple, and concise, the write-up will be more appealing and encouraging to read.

  • Incorporate storytelling: Storytelling is one brilliant writing technique that can never lose its touch. Once you start narrating a compelling story that has interested your reader, they will want to see how it ends. Even if you don’t like reading lengthy stories, once you start an interesting one, you won’t remember the length till you’ve gotten to the end. For your non-fiction writings, you can fictionalise a relatable story or ride on people’s experiences to drive home your point through storytelling.
  • Avoid using word fillers: Writers often fall into this trap when trying to meet a specific word count. If you communicate your points strongly enough, there will be no need for word fillers. Words like really, okay, right, very, well, actually, basically, etc., can be avoided. However, there may be times when you will need to use them in your writing but use them sparingly. Over-flogging an article with these words shows your uncertainty and lack of depth which readers can easily sense.

Above all, ensure your words, sentences, and paragraphs evoke emotions. Whether it makes them cry, laugh, happy, or sad, just make sure it creates a feeling. Implement this in your writing, and your audience will keep getting hangovers.

If this post was helpful, drop a comment and share. You can also check out our Instagram page for more helpful tips @sabiwriters.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

What Is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is a mainstay in a writer’s life, irrespective of how gifted the writer is. Sometimes, it becomes unbearably difficult piecing thoughts together, much less putting pen to paper or punching words on a keyboard. Writer’s block is the inability to figure out what to write or how to embark on a writing exercise.

This uneasiness does not compromise or question the expertise of a writer. It is merely a mental or psychological closure a writer encounters due to churning out too many pieces within a period. It is a creative hibernation or slowdown of a writer’s pen-power but not a winding down of his prowess.

Interestingly, the term ‘writer’s block’ can be traced back to the 19th century. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, described his ‘indefinite indescribable terror’ of his inability to produce works that commiserated with his talent. A few years afterwards, French writers expounded on the sufferings affiliated with writing. They blew it up to create a myth that writers possessed tormented souls and could not write without misery.

Nevertheless, creativity is the grundnorm of writing. Hence, it requires thought-provoking priming of the mind to be able to raise and articulate issues, information, ideas and hypotheses a writer intends to deduce, as well as bring to the fore. Since writing is more of a creative task, it is pertinent to note that certain factors may confound a writer’s creative power, thus limiting the ability to perform their gigs. Some of these factors are:

CAUSES OF WRITER’S BLOCK:

Perfection: In the world of creatives, you are as good as your last job. Hence, every creative—whether a writer, singer, fine artist, fashion illustrator, etc.—is faced with a self-inflicted rivalry with his most recent job each time he gets a call for a new one. This makes the task of starting another work very consternating.

Stress: The feeling of a mental or physical tension and weakness can create an opaque glass before a writer’s lens. It becomes highly difficult to indulge in any mental or physical exercise when one is stressed out, and writers are not immune to this.

Depression: This causes a loss of interest in all kinds of activities, irrespective of how talented one might be in it or the gratification it offers. It negatively affects our immediate environment’s feelings, thought processes, and reactions. A depressed writer cannot write, no matter how knowledgeable he is on the brief or how enticing the reward is.

Pressure: Sometimes, we are persuaded or gaslighted into doing what we do not feel like doing at a given time, even when we are very good at it. When this happens, the mind becomes limited to exploring new ideas and perspectives, thus limiting our creative flow.

Fear: The uncertainty of how the outcome of a job will be can create a blockage in the mind of a writer. Often, a writer is probed with the inner question of the client’s review of the writing and the general perception of the readers. Furthermore, the fear of rejection by publishers, including negative reviews, can affect a writer’s zeal.

REMEDIES TO WRITER’S BLOCK:

Exercise: Exercise is a natural buffer to stress. It rejuvenates the body and mind, increases stamina, enhances focus, stirs productivity, and enhances memory. Acrobatic exercises like jogging, running, etc., helps in the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, which controls the imagination of new scenarios. Regular exercise can help a writer improve the creativity and imaginative mind required for writing.

Reading and Research: A knack for reading and carrying out our research should be part of a writer’s DNA. A writer who is not an ardent reader will be wanting in knowledge, insights and perspectives. Reading and researching boost a writer’s confidence and equips him with the ‘technical know-how’ required to excel in the pen profession.  

Switch tasks: Based on the popular axiom that variety is the spice of life, swapping actions and scenarios can be what a writer needs to snap out of writer’s block. It is advisable to explore adjacent creative activities like drawing, painting, playing, taking a walk or even more socially engaging things, like spending time with friends and family, attending events and programs, etc., can remedy writer’s block

Take a break: Sometimes, burying our heads on a keyboard or writing pad can be very monotonous. As a writer, sometimes it is necessary to take a trip away from the writer’s world and explore other adventures like travelling, swimming, picnicking, excursions, etc. These will suppress writer’s block and usher in fresh ideas and perspectives that will prove highly valuable to a writer’s craft.

Gain mastery, not perfection: Mastery is the core of competence, and it is built over time. Just as a toddler learns to talk by talking, a writer who intends to be a master of his craft must keep writing. As a writer, do not be caught in the race for perfection but walk on the lane of mastery. More so, it is only when the ink keeps flowing that competence is consolidated, and mastery becomes the new order.

A writer on the lane of mastery gives room for criticism and corrections, while a writer chasing perfection grows a swollen head and takes criticism as voices of envy. Suffice to say that there is no writing that cannot be improved upon, irrespective of how gifted the writer is. Mastery will always leave room for that precious improvement a writer needs to scale his work to the next level, but perfection may not – i.e., if it’s even attainable.

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