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 Characters vs. Grammar

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PostSubject: Characters vs. Grammar   Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:37 am

I know there are already two or so character topics, and for that I apologize, but I thought this deserved its own topic.

When writing in third person, the question, "Do I use correct grammar?" is obvious, but in first person, it's another story.

If you are writing in first person, chances are that character doesn't speak in perfect English, even though you, the writer, have to.

So what do you choose? Writing in correct English at the expense of your character's personality? Or writing in correct perspective at the expense of...your grammar?

D: Do you use correct grammar only in first person narration and not in the dialogue, then? But...the character narrating usually would not tell a story in perfect English either.

Also, does a character narrate like they talk (ex. slang, abbreviations etc.) or slightly better?
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PostSubject: Re: Characters vs. Grammar   Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:51 am

when I write in first person I do tend to write it how the character would speak.
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PostSubject: Re: Characters vs. Grammar   Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:32 pm

Usually I write how the character talks. There are times though when I use correct grammar, but it depends on what and how it sounds. It's hard to explain.

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PostSubject: Re: Characters vs. Grammar   Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:19 pm

That's an interesting question! I have to think about it... i write the voice of the character so sometimes proper English goes out the window, but I try to stick to most of the popular grammar rules, because there are some things that just make me cringe internally.
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PostSubject: Re: Characters vs. Grammar   Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:08 pm

I definitely think that you should have the character speak the way he/she really would. I would much rather see grammar issues in a book than a flat character.
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PostSubject: Re: Characters vs. Grammar   Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:14 pm

imaginary wrote:
I definitely think that you should have the character speak the way he/she really would. I would much rather see grammar issues in a book than a flat character.

You took the words right out of my mouth. I agree with you wholeheartedly and even some of the best characters have the WORST grammar in the world inside their story.
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PostSubject: Re: Characters vs. Grammar   Sun May 24, 2009 9:24 pm

I combed through the spellchecker on my laptop today and added a good fifty words. All words that my characters used in conversations that aren't technically words. Wouldn't've, gonna, shoulda, etc. I don't use them often, but I do use them when it makes everything feel natural.

Anybody else have to add words to their spellchecker, or is it just me?

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PostSubject: Re: Characters vs. Grammar   Mon May 25, 2009 1:34 pm

Oh I do all the time. It just angers me to have all of those little red lines under the words when I'm rereading things. It distracts me, so I add them to the dictionary. It just makes things easier. I just wish I had a separate program for school essays so I don't go using "gonna" in them... ^_^;
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