Brenda Carre has dialect-writing superpowers. She’s also pretty great at world-building, visual arts, and helping other writers grow.
Originally, I was going to write about her ability to stretch out detail and movement in her writing. I attended her reading at Miscon from her current work, Truth-Seer. Her advice of expanding on what has just come before in a paragraph, while at the same time moving the narrative, allows for greater grounding and doesn’t rush the reader. It’s a knack I’m trying to learn, and she did it so well.
But, then I read Gret.
Gret is a young witch, newly torn from her home and seeking revenge. She stumbles upon a God who offers her a path to her desire. But, is it a choice if it’s offered by a God?
The dialect in this story is stunning. There are idioms, accent, and it fleshes Gret in a way simple narrative could never do. It went so far beyond the detail-building I thought I’d discuss, that I had to share it with you.
“I limped bare-footed over the cold, damp ground and the night come for me, into my heart and into my soul. I spewed out everything I’d et into a pile of tree needles and I went on. Empty and done withal. My innards went to hatred, cold and icy and sure.
Could’a put my heart in a sling and used it for shot.”
Isn’t that fabulous? That last line made me stop. Just stop and soak in the poetry of it.
This. This is the looseness and precision of language we are all aiming to achieve. It’s a delicate and bold balance of voice that serves the story perfectly. This is why we examine our characters and listen to them fully.
Do you have a favorite line from a story that gleams with character voice?