Monday, February 24, 2014

Characters Talking -- Knowing the Slang

When I'm writing dialog, one of the things I take seriously is the way a character uses slang. I try to be consistent, not only with the character's personality, but also with the slang that was popular during the time period. This is especially challenging for characters like Regan Worth because she uses A LOT of slang. It's also challenging for characters like Swampy because he invents his own slang.

While working on  Dirty Money, I find myself doing a lot of research on the slang of the 1920s, but also on the slang used in the years leading up to the 1920s. While Regan would use current slang, Maggie O'Malley probably wouldn't. However, Maggie might use the slang that was popular in 1900 or 1910. A character's background is a factor as well. Dylan Worth spends a lot of time in jazz joints, so his slang would be very different than his best friend Duncan O'Malley's slang. However, since they grew up together, they might both use slang from their past.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the slang used by the Dime Store Novel characters. 

Regan Worth
“So he’s a DICK. That’s worse! I’ll be the laughing stock of the whole place. Besides, he’s a wet blanket. He never even smiled at me.” -- High Rollers

"Horsefeathers! I've seen the women who hang on you at the Owl. There's not an ounce of fat between them." -- Dirty Money

Hanover Fist

“I prefer shooting dice.” -- High Rollers

“Like the glue on your shoe,” Hanover said, nibbling her earlobe a little.
“More like the gum in my hair,” Toledo grinned.  -- The Reunion

“It wasn’t the sex,” Hanover said. “I wanted the car.”
“Death traps,” Swampy said. “I want my coffin made from oak.”
“Then you won’t take a ride with me?”
“When gators eat marigolds.”   -- The Reunion

“Well, I’ll be a Louisiana snowflake.” -- From the Gator's Mouth

Duncan O'Malley
“You want me to be a flat foot?”  -- Angels in Hell's Kitchen

“I’ll cut you slack for awhile, but I do want you to let your old man know that Duncan O’Malley walks Hell’s Kitchen now and that I won’t put up with a child beater.” -- Angels in Hell's Kitchen

Do you have a favorite character who uses slang?  I'd love to know.

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