Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Good Read and a Writing Tip

Nick Schaevers Mystery Series, Vol. 2
by Newton Love

Just before things went haywire, Nick Scheavers’s life was going great. He expected to make a mint on the high tech company he was helping to go public, and he had become lucky in love.

Everything was wonderful until a venture capitalist did some high-speed bouncing on the sidewalk before posing for the crime scene photographs. How quickly the high and mighty have fallen, or in this case, were launched.

Dialogue and Details

Question from the E-mail:  People in my writing group claim my dialogue is "too modern."  They even objected to the use of "Okay." My story is set in the depression era and they drive a Model T for heaven's sake. I know they said it back then, but "twenty-three skidoo" sounds ridiculous.  Any advice on how to make my dialogue more "period?"

Answer:  Well, Okay is Okay, any time after 1880 and was used regularly in the later 19th and early 20th centuries.  Still there are small touches you could put in that would "date" it  without much work on your part.  

To give it more of a "past" flavoring, I'd suggest you use "automobile" sometimes instead of "car." With search and replace that would be easy.

Or even better, be more specific, as you did with the Model T roadster. Make a fancier car a Packard,  Pierce Arrow, or La Salle. 

Use some brief images to show objects that will help reinforce your time period, as well. Have someone straighten a stack of Coronet, Colliers, or Liberty magazines, or some other dated and defunct publication. 

Essentially, I'll bet it's not the dialogue, but the detail that will solve your problem. Now you don't have to do this a lot, just slot in an essential detail now and then that will remind the reader of the time.  Have them dance the Charleston ---  a cloche hat for gangster's moll could give just the right touch. 

You only need a little reminder now and then. And not too many.  Once per chapter should be enough.

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