Writing with accents is kind of like cooking with essential oils. A little bit goes a very long way. One drop of cinnamon oil is enough to give a standard pot of icing a recognizable flavor. Three drops and your guests will demand a glass of milk to wash away the burn. Six drops and you'll be sent to GTMO for chemical terrorism.
Yesterday, James showed spectacular instances of how to do them right and how they've been done so very, very wrong. Go read them.
Today's slang is tomorrow's shame. Do you remember when "Shawty" and "Hot Mess" were the
Here's a topic for which I am likely to be keelhauled. I could write a tome about stereotypes, the culture wars, and the impact on art. The short version is this: the backlash against novelists using stereotypes in their work is less about challenging authors to break moulds and more about the reader searching for reasons to pan -- not the book -- but author for not yielding to reader's real-world social concerns. If all authors heeded the hue and cry, there would never be another smart Asian, gay designer, or fat white villain shaped by words on a page. That would be a pity, because every person has many relationships with all sorts of stereotypes -- good, bad, or gloriously tumultuous. Authors count on those relationships -- on those instant and visceral emotional bonds -- to hook the reader. Naturally, a writer can develop a character beyond the stereotype if it suits the plot or they can belabor the stereotype because the character development is happening in the surrounding cast as a result of the lack of change. Still with me? All right, I said I'd let this be the short version. Super short version is that stereotypes are functional and should not be feared.
And so, dear readers, there you have my opinions on transgressions real and over-hyped. Agree? Disagree? Out hunting for the perfect hangin' tree?