Don't tell me that working-class people can’t be articulate

McInerney, Lisa

Publisher:  The Guardian
Date Written:  05/05/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20750

When writing dialogue, the idea that a drug dealer must be portrayed as verbally hesitant is daft -- language is not a tool issued by the nobility.



Last summer, about a year after my first novel The Glorious Heresies was published, I led a workshop for aspiring writers. In the session, we referred to my experience writing Heresies – lessons I'd learned or techniques I found useful. One of the attendees had read the book in preparation for the session and had an issue with my take on dialogue. He believed my characters' speech, and each narrative voice I employed, was far too complex. He maintained that a writer writing a working-class story should not use sophisticated words or inventive phrasing, even in third person. He was adamant my vernacular wasn't the vernacular: a working-class story should be told through simple prose and working-class characters should have a limited vocabulary, or else they are not authentic
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