Tag Archives: Dialect

New in Audio from Linda Nightingale, plus a little advice!

Today we’re talking about AUDIO Books. Since I’m relatively new to the process I wanted to get the advice and wisdom of some authors who have gone through the process of converting a book to audio, so I sought out one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Linda Nightingale, to help me out. Linda’s a  prolific writer, not to mention a lot of fun, as evidenced by this picture of her at a recent signing. ( she’s the one on your right!)

I wanted to know how daunting this process was, what she had to go through, and if it was worth the effort that it seems to be. Her advice has been invaluable in helping me make the move from print to audio! Here’s Linda in her own words:

(ME) How did you feel about your books going to audio?

I was thrilled! Bowled over even! When my publisher announced that it was possible for our books to go to audio, I immediately signed on.

My experience with audio books was very pleasant with two of my four. I was lucky enough to snag this young Englishwoman with a lovely voice and accent perfect for both Love For Sale and Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody. Her delivery was impeccable. I was thrilled, even though Morgan D’Arcy is told in first person male.

The second two were not as successful. With Gambler’s Choice, though the girl, again an Englishwoman, had the book well dramatized, she didn’t change with the characters, which could be forgiven, but she sounded as if she were in a well. I received many comments on this fact in reviews.

The second, Gylded Wings, was a dark fantasy. However, the narrator read it as if it were a fairytale—has tone and sing-song way of telling the story.

Writing for audio books is different from writing a book seen on a page. Maybe it shouldn’t be but when the reader is looking at the text on a page, they can follow ‘untagged’ dialogue for a time and understand who’s talking. With audio books, this isn’t the case. The listener can become confused if the dialogue isn’t clearly tagged as to the speaker, but when the book is already published, it’s too late to change it. Just something to keep in mind if you are writing for audio.

The process itself, ‘proofing’ your book for errors, can take hours of listening and then listening again to the corrections. I enjoyed every minute. I loved to listen to my characters coming to life.

As to sales—not record yet, but still hoping. If you aren’t a member of Audible, they are quite pricey, and promoting an audio book takes just as much effort and savvy as promoting your eBook or print version. The first thing I did was to sign up for a blog tour, and that worked out well. Unfortunately, many of the hosts couldn’t use the audio files, and I had to come up with an alternative: refer them to my website and hope they hang around while they’re visiting.

Will I do it again? Oh, yes. It’s exciting to hear your book read. Also a confirmation in a way. Look, what I did! Self, listen this isn’t half-bad!

Peggy here: Here’s another of Linda’s audiobooks, Her General in Gray

A little about Linda:

Linda has lived a interesting life—from breeding and showing horses to working for a Circuit Judge—and won some prestigious awards for her writing. Find out more about her on her website and various social media, and she’d love to hear from you via email.

Twitter // Facebook // Web site//  Goodreads // Pinterest // Amazon 


Peggy here – Linda thank you so much for all your advice!



Filed under audiobooks, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Speak and they will listen..

Since I’ve been on the topic of mannerisms of late, how about we discuss how your characters speak and the idiosyncratic styles they each have? This is a fun topic for me any time of day or night.

I’ve said before that I was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived in NYC for the first 27 years of my life. When I open my mouth and start to speak, you automatically can hear where I’m from. I have a tendency to drop the letter R at the ends of words ( which is why I refer to girls as sistahs), my “Th” sounds come out sounding like the letter “d”, so you’ll hear me say Dat for That. I speak as quickly as a lightning flash and use my hands expressively a great deal. All these verbal tags and mannerisms tell you I’m probably a New York kind of girl.


Last year I was in San Antoni for the RWA conference. Most of the people who originate from that region and the ones I came in contact with at the hotel and in the city said “y’all” and “rightly so” a bunch of times in their adorable Texas twang.

Two weeks ago I was Las Vegas. Many of the employees in the hotel I was staying in were from the Philippines and addressed every person every time they came in contact with them as Ma’am or Sir. In their country this a severe sign of respect for the individual they are addressing.


So, having shared this, some of the ways you can make your characters jump off the page to the reader and make them come alive, is to know how they speak.  Can you hear each character in your books speaking in their own style, or does every character sound the same to you? I read my dialogue out loud all the time just so I can be sure one person doesn’t sound exactly like another. Do your characters all use the same words and phrases when they speak? Again, this can get boring and confusing for the reader. For instance, doctors are highly educated people and use a certain vocabulary the average person doesn’t. You wouldn’t want your immigrant, unable-to-read-and-write character who is a patient be able to understand what a doctor is telling him. That just doesn’t ring true. Nor would a scientist and a four year be able to communicate on the same level. Unless of course the kid was a prodigy.talkingmeme

One of my favorite characters that I am currently writing is a ninety-two-year-old Irish immigrant grandmother who continually speaks in malapropisms. It gets her into some funny and outrageous situations, but it rings true when she speaks the words incorrectly, because she thinks they are correct.talkingmeme6









So, if your character is smart, does she speak like she’s educated?  Did your hero come from the South, because if he did, he’d be polite in his conversations with people, saying “please”, Ma-am, and so forth. Got a Canadian in-law? Make sure you round those vowels.

All these special little touches will make your characters more attractive, honest, appealing, and most importantly to your readers, Real.

So…you know what’s coming. How do you make your characters sound all like individuals and not robots….Let’s discuss.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Literary characters, research, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Individual Speech Patterns

Did you ever read a scene between two characters and not know who was speaking because they both sounded the same on the page? I have and it’s very disconcerting. Now, you can use speaker attributes,or tags, such as he said, or she asked, to denote who is speaking and this is a fine, tried and true method to delineate who is saying what. But no two people speak the same way, even members in the same family. They may use similar words or expressions, but the way they say the words is different. People are unique. Your characters should be, too.

I have a friend who always thinks before answering a question. There’s never any knee-jerking in any response she gives. And she uses a modicum of words to answer that question. I have another friend who – like me – always knee-jerks, never thinks and speaks in a rapid fire fashion using up more words in the dictionary than most people know the meaning to. If I were to write a dialogue between the two I would never need to write a speaker attribution. You would know who is speaking just by the way I’ve written the dialogue. Your characters should be recognizable as well. If you have done your job correctly, and have laid the foundation throughout the story of how they speak – slow or fast, their tone – loud or soft – and the way they use words, your readers should be able to identify them during a dialogue scene.

Certain frequently used phrases, slang and dialect are all individual tags to indicate who is speaking as well.  Think of this statement: “I don’ know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!” If you are a Gone With the Wind fan, you recognize this as a sentence from Scarlet’s maid Prissy when Melanie goes into labor. Prissy is a slave. Poor, black and uneducated. If GWTW took place in the Regency period, you might expect the maid to be white, poor and uneducated, and her speech would sound something like this: “Oy dow’t know nuffin ‘bowt birthing babes!” Both sound uneducated. Take the same sentence and write it from Scarlet’s voice and it might sound like this: “But I don’t know anything about delivery babies!” Sounds different, doesn’t it? The well educated lady’s maid in England may  sound like this: “I’m sorry, but I am not acquainted with the necessary knowledge to assist a baby  into the world.” Sounds even more unique.

Where your story takes place, the locale or setting, will give you an indication of how the characters speak as well. The common ones are Y’all for the south, Mate for our neighbors to the north and Australia, Eh? for the upper midsection of the country, bloody and brilliant for our English friends. You can come up with many more individual phrases and words used in various sections of our world. If you have a Brit in your book, make him say common Brit phrases, and then try to have the Americans tell him the way they say the same word. That would surely denote who is speaking from who.

I am nosey. I’ve said this too any times now to try and deny it if asked. In my nosiness states I listen to how strangers speak. In a restaurant, at the mall, on airplanes. I enjoy hearing people talk because it is all fodder for my imagination and story telling. The next time you are somewhere pubic, listen to a few people have a dialogue. Note the speed – or lack of it – in the way they talk, the words they use – many or sparse – and any geographical dialect sounding words they say. See if you can translate that to whatever story you are currently working on. Write a couple of pages of dialogue without speaker attributes and have someone read it. Someone your trust and like. See if they can follow who is speaking without the tags. If they can, you have done a great job. If they can’t, figure out why not and how you can fix it. And I’ll bet you can fix it by doing any of the ways I’ve mentioned.


1 Comment

Filed under Dialogue