Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound October 11, 2011 - 4:54am

I'm curious as to your take on this. For me, it's really annoying. I started Requim For A Dream and just sighed. It's not something that I would stop reading a book for but I find really interupts my flow and stops me from getting into the book.

 

Thoughts?

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 11, 2011 - 5:39am

I think it's useful at times because phonetic dialogue can conjure image, but it's certainly not something I'd want to do for an entire book.

amazingrobots's picture
amazingrobots from Savannah, GA is reading When You Are Engulfed In Flames October 11, 2011 - 7:59am

Depends on how it's done. When it starts to consistently affect my ability to read the story, it gets in the way. Irvine Welsh writes some nice stories, but fuck if it isn't hard to get through Trainspotting at times.

But then again, even using Trainspotting as an example, that's how people talk. The dialect and language is all around them. When you get steeped in a certain region's accent, or way of speaking, you start to really hear it. So it really is "tae" instead of "to". I believe there's a spot in there where Renton criticizes someone for saying "brother" instead of "brar", or something like that. As a part of the story, it can lend character and heart.

Certainly hurts the eyes, though.

Chorlie's picture
Chorlie from Philadelphia, PA is reading The Rules of the Tunnel October 11, 2011 - 8:36am

Selby's novel wouldn't read as well without it. It depends on how the author implements their dialogue. I fully understand your remark about Selby's novel slowing you down, but after some time you pick up on the lingo quickly. You adapt to the writing.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 11, 2011 - 8:48am

I'm with Brandon.  If it gets in the way, then it's awful.  In Reamde by Neal Stephenson, he writes the word "crick" instead of "creek".  Now, that's the way most everyone I know pronounces it, but nobody writes it that way, so it was jarring.  If he had written something like "Creek, which everyone in the family pronounced 'crick'" or something like that, I would have continued to read it with that pronounciation.  But seeing it written, I only thought of a crick in my neck until I remembered that he meant 'creek' when he wrote it.

 

And that's a tiny example.  Trainspotting was like trying to read code half the time, but I liked it.  I guess it's because Stephenson only used one, single word so when he used that word, I wasn't prepared for a phonetical interuption to my normal reading.  And it wasn't necessarily in dialogue.  So, if it's used consistancy and only in dialogue, I don't see it as much.

 

But if I see it, and it doesn't add something to the story, then I'm not going to like it.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 11, 2011 - 8:57am

It's really not something I've encountered all that much, but so far I don't have any real problem.

Love how Welsh does it. I don't find it hard to read his stuff at all. Scottish is just one of those accents though, so distinctive. I must have read six or seven of his books and loved them all.

The only Selby book I have read to date is The Room, and I don't remember it being a problem there. Maybe it's more of an issue in his other books?

Pygmy by Palahniuk? That one divides opinion. Again, it worked for me though.

 

 

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 11, 2011 - 8:55am

Selby and Welsh were clearly going for accuracy.

Pygmy was a parody.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 11, 2011 - 8:58am

True.

I wonder what Asian-american readers think of Pygmy.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 11, 2011 - 9:00am

Probably that it's racist, but I'm taking a wild guess with that one.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 11, 2011 - 9:57am

i tend not to use phonetic spellings, but rather to express that the narrator sees a problem with the person he's observing, for instance, i have a friend who says hundred "hunnerd" and my dad adds an extra e. hundered.

but thats just me, becaus people who speak that way see no issue with it, just like people from tennessee see no problem with having all the vowel sounds in the word ten, and they wouldnt notice it.

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound October 11, 2011 - 12:13pm

I really liked what Ellis did in Lunar Park. He was talking about his guard's leanency to having him take drugs, the guard was Jamaican or something and the line was about the leanency and then in brackets he has the speech of the guard:

Paraphrased: And his attitude towards me taking drugs diminished (ey man if you wanna smoke de dope, smoke de dope)

CJ Roberts's picture
CJ Roberts from Salem, MA is reading goodreads.com/cjroberts_dmm October 11, 2011 - 12:18pm

The problem I come across is if two writers are using the same phonetic model I can't separate the two voices as being any different. By trying to impress upon me a uniqueness of language I just flash back to some 3rd rate thriller I read wherein the author used the same phonetics. I get tangled up in it and lose interest very quickly. Phonetics I am sure have their place but I've never seen it.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 11, 2011 - 12:23pm

there's also absolutely NO REASON (sorry folks) to use slang terms or the tools you're using in your character voice outside of your character voice, unless your character is somehow brain damaged and doesnt understand that the "water closet" is the same as "the toilet". this isnt to say that your exposition shouldnt be voice-heavy, but that your dialogue should pop out from it.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 11, 2011 - 2:42pm

I like Selby's books. I'm not really fond of phonetic dialogue in other authors' books like Irvine Welsh's.

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club October 11, 2011 - 2:56pm

The only book I can recall reading that used phonetic dialogue was Huckleberry Finn.  It didn't bother me, but I remember having to read a few of Jim's sentences aloud multiple times to hear the intended words.  Maybe that says something about my reading skills more than the dialogue...