Re: RARA-AVIS: Scottish UK noir

From: Charlie Williams (
Date: 18 Jun 2002

This is a timely thread for me as I'm writing something in regional
(British) dialect right now. Mine is more a yokelish accent that I've adapted for my own purposes than a real one. Geopgraphical authenticity is not an issue as the town is entirely fictional and its location never specified (and irrelevant). What I've done is written the whole novel that way, via the first person narrator. That way I guess I avoid the stuff about being disdainful to common characters. But that wasn't an issue for me anyway. As usual, the main character popped into my head and when I started writing he insisted on talking this way. I've loved writing it.

I've gotta say, as a reader, "voice" fiction is better if the whole novel is that way. If you don't fall in love with the voice in the first sentence, you've got the whole book to let it seduce you (or not). Jim Thompson's Pop. 1280 stands above all his others for me because I just love the easy way Nick Corey speaks (writes). Martin Amis created a masterpiece with a narrator who played with his own accent when he wrote Money. Trainspotting is so good because the thick language really makes me see the characters, somehow. These are three that work for me. There are dozens of others that failed because the non-standard English just didn't work.

Charlie Williams.

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