Old 01-06-2018, 04:06 AM   #1
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Gonna

Do you feel "gonna" is acceptable when writing dialogue? Writing in slang or dialect quickly gets tiresome IMO, but e.g. "I'm gonna get you for this" has a different ring to it, and often works better if read out loud than "I'm going to get you for this."
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:54 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by tomlitilia View Post
Do you feel "gonna" is acceptable when writing dialogue? Writing in slang or dialect quickly gets tiresome IMO, but e.g. "I'm gonna get you for this" has a different ring to it, and often works better if read out loud than "I'm going to get you for this."
As always, it depends on context.

I've used it for colloquial dialogue where, "I'm going to get you for this" would sound prissy and far too formal.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:57 AM   #3
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Do you feel "gonna" is acceptable when writing dialogue? Writing in slang or dialect quickly gets tiresome IMO, but e.g. "I'm gonna get you for this" has a different ring to it, and often works better if read out loud than "I'm going to get you for this."
gonn'a ?
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:27 AM   #4
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Sure, if that's how the character would talk.
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:03 AM   #5
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Sure, if that's how the character would talk.

I don't think it's that easy. I at least spell things out differently from how they presumably would have been said by characters all the time. For instance, I wouldn't write "woudabin" instead of "would have been." But for some reason, I feel differently about "gonna" vs "going to"
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by tomlitilia View Post
I don't think it's that easy. I at least spell things out differently from how they presumably would have been said by characters all the time. For instance, I wouldn't write "woudabin" instead of "would have been." But for some reason, I feel differently about "gonna" vs "going to"
"Gonna" does give a nice flow to the sentence, as anyone knows what you mean. Very few people would understand "Wouldabin" at first glance, and figuring out the meaning would interrupt the flow
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tomlitilia View Post
Do you feel "gonna" is acceptable when writing dialogue? Writing in slang or dialect quickly gets tiresome IMO, but e.g. "I'm gonna get you for this" has a different ring to it, and often works better if read out loud than "I'm going to get you for this."
I use expressions like that all the time where they're easily understandable don'tchaknow. One of the hardest parts of writing is to avoid your dialog sounding stilted and unnatural, and "casualizing" where appropriate I think helps immerse the reader in the story. I think you have to be careful not to overdo it tho and end up with something the reader has to struggle to follow.

Kind of like foreign words. I use chinese now and then, but the trick is to throw in a chinese word where the meaning is obvious ("everybody knows what gweilo boys want from nice chinese girls...."), again, without losing the reader.

Right now in "Fields of Gold" my challenge is with military terminology and slang. You have to use some, but it has to be obvious and you have to use it correctly or anybody who knows is just going to get thrown out of the story and either criticize you or laugh at your inaccuracies.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:40 AM   #8
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Yes, definitely. "Gonna" is OK. I agree you have to be very careful about rendering casual speech, and most of the time it should be done with restraint. But "gonna" is so common and familiar that it won't jar the reader. Same with "gotta." But I might be more reluctant to write something like "whaddaya."
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:36 AM   #9
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I've used "gonna" in my stories. I've also used "gotta", "wanna" and "I dunno".
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:37 AM   #10
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Any form of slang or contracted speech is OK in dialogue to give a flavour of the person's speech pattern. All that is needed is a few hints, not a complete transcription of exactly how the person would talk in real life.

It is too easy to go too far and make every piece of dialogue the preferred slang. Just a few changes are enough to give the character a distinctive speech pattern.

Kipling's Indian Army stories are examples of How NOT To Do It. His army characters consistently speak Kipling's idea of Indian Army slang but as one of his contemporaries put it "No soldier anywhere ever spoke as Kipling wrote their speech".

A few changed words, a few examples of unusual word order - that's enough.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by oggbashan View Post
Any form of slang or contracted speech is OK in dialogue to give a flavour of the person's speech pattern. All that is needed is a few hints, not a complete transcription of exactly how the person would talk in real life.

It is too easy to go too far and make every piece of dialogue the preferred slang. Just a few changes are enough to give the character a distinctive speech pattern.
....
That nailed it really well, Ogg.

So here's an example of taking it too far....waaaaaay to far.

"Arvo Ogg. That's bonza, sport. Took a captain cook at what you wrote and fair dinkum, that's a ripper summo. Reckon I'll get a fair suck of the sauce bottle now and I don't have to do the Harry. Gonna slap a pineapple on the bar here, buy everyone a couple of stubbies coz don't know about you but I'm dry as a dead dingos donger, then wrap my laughing gear around a dogs eye and there's buckley's chance anyone else'll get a look in on that. No porky's here, but I'd rather not drink with the flies. How about pulling up a pew and we can have a whinge about these wowsers together. No pashing tho, and definitely no rooting."

Unless you're an Aussie, or you know 'strine, what the heck does that mean? You've lost almost everyone after the first half dozen words.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:55 AM   #12
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Slang is fine, in fact for me personally I tend to not like stories where everyone speaks in perfect English because to me, that makes all characters sound the same. Slang kind of gives the character, well....character.

The only issue with it is if you have a character who speaks in the way of gonna, gotta, wanna....you have to have them remain consistent with it.

I write a novel featuring the mob and a lot of gang members. Spellcheck had it lit up like the Fourth of July after only a few chapters....so I added them to the dictionary so it leaves me alone now.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:07 AM   #13
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That nailed it really well, Ogg.

So here's an example of taking it too far....waaaaaay to far.

"Arvo Ogg. That's bonza, sport. Took a captain cook at what you wrote and fair dinkum, that's a ripper summo. Reckon I'll get a fair suck of the sauce bottle now and I don't have to do the Harry. Gonna slap a pineapple on the bar here, buy everyone a couple of stubbies coz don't know about you but I'm dry as a dead dingos donger, then wrap my laughing gear around a dogs eye and there's buckley's chance anyone else'll get a look in on that. No porky's here, but I'd rather not drink with the flies. How about pulling up a pew and we can have a whinge about these wowsers together. No pashing tho, and definitely no rooting."

Unless you're an Aussie, or you know 'strine, what the heck does that mean? You've lost almost everyone after the first half dozen words.
I understood most of that and I was last in Australia in 1962!

I used some Aussie slang in my story: "Is E an Aussie, Is He Lizzie?"

https://www.literotica.com/s/is-e-an...e-is-he-lizzie
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:19 AM   #14
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I understood most of that and I was last in Australia in 1962!

I used some Aussie slang in my story: "Is E an Aussie, Is He Lizzie?"

https://www.literotica.com/s/is-e-an...e-is-he-lizzie
You've gotta be an honorary Aussie, Ogg
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Old 01-06-2018, 11:15 AM   #15
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You've gotta be an honorary Aussie, Ogg
The Aussie immigration authorities gave me permission to stay indefinitely and I went to an Aussie High School...
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Old 01-06-2018, 11:39 AM   #16
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Do you feel "gonna" is acceptable when writing dialogue? Writing in slang or dialect quickly gets tiresome IMO, but e.g. "I'm gonna get you for this" has a different ring to it, and often works better if read out loud than "I'm going to get you for this."
Simple answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, it dialog, that's how people talk.
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Old 01-06-2018, 11:55 AM   #17
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As a basic rule of thumb, I figure all grammatical bets are open to misinterpretation with quotations.

Having said that, I do tend to agree that it's generally not a good idea to make colloquialisms too opaque for the "standard reader" (whoever the hell that is), unless that is your intent and you "waste" a paragraph having the protag puzzle out the meaning.
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:53 PM   #18
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You have to be somewhat careful with this sort of thing, because if you're not you can be guilty of the same thing Mark Twain accused James Fenimore Cooper of in his marvelous and very funny essay "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" (every student of American literature should read this): inconsistency.

Here's Twain's description of Cooper's failure:

"Cooper was certainly not a master in the construction of dialogue. Inaccurate observation defeated him here as it defeated him in so many other enterprises of his. He even failed to notice that the man who talks corrupt English six days in the week must and will talk it on the seventh, and can't help himself. In the Deerslayer story he lets Deerslayer talk the showiest kind of book-talk sometimes, and at other times the basest of base dialects. For instance, when some one asks him if he has a sweetheart, and if so, where she abides, this is his majestic answer:

"'She's in the forest-hanging from the boughs of the trees, in a soft rain--in the dew on the open grass--the clouds that float about in the blue heavens--the birds that sing in the woods--the sweet springs where I slake my thirst--and in all the other glorious gifts that come from God's Providence!'"

And he preceded that, a little before, with this:

"'It consarns me as all things that touches a fri'nd consarns a fri'nd.'"

And this is another of his remarks:

"'If I was Injin born, now, I might tell of this, or carry in the scalp and boast of the expl'ite afore the whole tribe; or if my inimy had only been a bear'"--and so on. "

Twain himself was extremely gifted at portraying dialects in writing, and Huckleberry Finn probably is one of the best examples in American literature of doing so. But if you don't do it carefully, it's easy to do it badly.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:08 PM   #19
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Consistency is the entire game. If your character says "gonna" in one place, he needs to say it everywhere else AND the rest of his dialog has to match.

I wrote a story back in July where one of the characters speaks in both English and Spanish and often mixes the two in once sentence. (e.g. "Go. Endele.") She also doesn't speak with correct sentence structure and/or syntax. It wasn't easy because sometimes she has to say things like "He no believe..." AND "He not know..."

You'd think that because she uses "not" correctly in one place, she'd use it correctly elsewhere. But, she doesn't and I'm ok with that because it works and that's how some people talk. As long as the character is consistent, do whatever makes the character realistic and believable within the parameters of the story and plot.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:14 PM   #20
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I sure hope it works, 'cause my story submission for the Valentine's Day contest is full of it, and I think the story depends on it. However, it's a satire and the use of slang sorta emphasizes a certain stereotype, if y'all get my drift. However, I was able to assure that every word passed muster on my spell check??? I didn't know it would accept slang or parochial spellings, but some of them are there.

For example; all of the slang contractions I used above are apparently well enough accepted to be in my dictionary/spell checker...however, ya'll is not. Sometimes a side trip online to check out the specific word helps...as in y'all. I couldn't quite get it right w/o a little look'n.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:32 PM   #21
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What kills me to read in dialogue is “ida” or “i’d’ve” ... short for I’d have or I would’ve. Hahaha
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:00 PM   #22
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Dialogue should be written how the character talks. Even if its not grammatically correct. The surrounding text should be correct though.
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:57 PM   #23
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Consistency is the entire game. If your character says "gonna" in one place, he needs to say it everywhere else AND the rest of his dialog has to match.
I'd amend that a little - consistency is a good default, but people often do shift language registers for different audiences or depending on their emotional state, and that can be a useful storytelling tool. If I say "gonna" to my friends, but not to my boss, that tells you something about our working relationship.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:45 PM   #24
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Consistency is the entire game. If your character says "gonna" in one place, he needs to say it everywhere else AND the rest of his dialog has to match.
True, although the rule can be broken. As with anything, a good ear will tell you what to use and when to use it."

He: "Are you ever going to get around to doing that thing?"
She: "For your information, I was going to do that tomorrow morning. And if you keep nagging me about it, I'm gonna scream!"

The difference is that in her first sentence, she was enunciating for effect, with each word separate. (It might be clearer if "going" in this sentence were italicized.) In the second, it's her emotions that are coming forth.

I agree with SimonDoom that Mark Twain was a master of dialogue and an astute observer of other people's failings at it. And, as others have pointed out, you don't need a lot of it to give your characters their "flavor."

Dialect is a tricky thing. Many good writers who do everything else well fall short. (Ian Fleming comes to mind ... although he was a master at pacing and describing scenes, his attempt to portray American idioms can be painful to read.)
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:05 AM   #25
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I don't think it's that easy. I at least spell things out differently from how they presumably would have been said by characters all the time. For instance, I wouldn't write "woudabin" instead of "would have been." But for some reason, I feel differently about "gonna" vs "going to"
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What kills me to read in dialogue is “ida” or “i’d’ve” ... short for I’d have or I would’ve. Hahaha
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Yeah. The most common contraction is 'would've been'. Virtually no one says 'would have been' in full, unless they're emphasising for a point.

One thing that kills my enjoyment of a story would be stilted dialogue caused by the author not using common contractions. The reading voice in my head doesn't deal with them terribly well.

Vice versa for non-dialogue writing - I think contractions shouldn't be used, unless it's the first person narrating. Not sure what the official view on this would be though?
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