Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ya'll Talk Real Pretty

So, here's a question for the masses: when I'm writing dialogue beween two Oklahomans, should it be?

Now, I realize that many of us grew up in the suburbs and thus have pretty generic, vaguely Midwestern accents. (And, of course, we can blame this blessing on the best equalizer of them all: T.V., the most loving and awesome babysitter on the planet! FYI, if you can sing at least one line of the theme song from Charles in Charge, then you can't place youself above this generalization.)

Still, despite our similarities with other slow-speaking Southerners, we have a few special qualities of speech. Yes, yes, we all drop our g's. Example: We are never, never going to the store; we're goin'. And we aren't talking to our Papas; we're talkin'. But what other Oklahoma-isms make us special? Oh, hell, if ya'll have to ask, then I don't think I'm gonna tell ya.

See? (And before you get all huffy with me, ask yourself this: have you ever told someone that you were "fixin'" to do something? $20 says you have.)

So...what do I do with this pecularity in my dialogue?

Of course, I'm not going to make my characters discuss the tars* on the car. That kind of talk is for my Papa, who supposedly picked cotton and still hordes canned food as though he were preparing for nuclear winter.

But maybe there are less dramatic boundaries? Do my Southeastern Oklahoman characters speak with correct grammar and punctuation, or are they a little more authentic? Does "authentic" Oklahoman speech verge on cheesy? You tell me!

*FYI, "Tars" means "tires," in Oklahomaspeak. As in: "Would you nice group of people please help me place these tires on my car?." Or, translated: "Ya'll folks gonna help me get these tars on my car?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here I am...

Well, you've all heard my bitter diatribes against Facebook and Twitter. (It should be twitting, not tweeting, if you ask me). I take issue with the very idea of the Status Updates of the Mundane and Famous. "Major Singer-songwriter feels his sushi about to come up" = a serious overshare, in my book. In fact, a major event has to occur in order for me to post my own status updates. Ex.: Being snowed in for four days with only leftover Christmas turkey and few bottles of red wine; I dare anyone to resist that kind of updating-temptation.

Despite the fact I'm an admitted troglogyte, I find myself drawn - albeit REALLY belatedly - to the world o' Blog, particularly when I read such gems as The Rejectionist and the (dearly departed, bloggywise) Miss Snark. When you add the delightfully vicious comments of the Query Shark, how can I resist? The literary agents have graciously shared their thoughts on the world of writing, querying, and publishing. So, why shouldn't I share my thoughts on my side of that process with my dear friends - ya'll! (FYI, this blog will be chock full o' Oklahomanisms. Deal with it.) am I. Are you ready?