Thanks everyone for your interesting contributions! We’ve had lots of interesting points raised over the last four days, but as this discussion appears to be naturally coming to an end, the poll is now closed. Thanks again!
I’m in a Wattpad Writers discord server where we talk about the site, share snippets of our writing for critique and just generally chat about literature.
Recently a friend of mine posted an exerpt of her latest book (I have permission to share this exchange, don’t worry ) and one of the lines was:
“Nah, my mam was always giving me into trouble for skipping school.”
This line sounded like nonsense to me and I suggested that scold, rebuke, or reprimand be used instead of ‘giving me into trouble’.
My friend responded "Kawi, I love you but I physically cringe at the idea of a teenage boy from [redacted] using words like scold, rebuke, or reprimand in that context."
The conversation then moved onto whether it was more important for dialogue to be grammatically correct or to sound natural (particularly for books that use less widespread forms of English, like Australian English, Scottish English, or Singaporean English).
We’re both of the opinion that it’s more immportant for the character dialogue to sound natural, but my friend also mentioned that one of the biggest complaints they receive on their wattpad books is that their “grammar is bad” or that “these sentences are wrong and don’t make any sense” similar to how I challenged the giving me in trouble line.
So I’d like to hear from a wider audience, what’s more important to you when it comes to writing dialogue? That it’s grammatically correct? Or that it sounds like real natural speech for a character of X background?
- Natural sounding dialogue
- Grammatically correct dialogue