Do accents matter?

When you read, do you give the characters accents, even if the author has failed to give their origins and details of how they speak? (Yes it happens).

Of course, the accents we give them will fit our perceptions and be based on the information given by the writer, but what would happen to the story if you deliberately got it wrong?

I help to coordinate a creative writing group and have set a “homework” that centres on accents. I’ve been experimenting by writing a piece for one accent, but reading it with another and the result is amazing.

Just as the background music in a film can change pace, feel and emotion, accents can do the same for the written word. As an example of what I mean, there’s a great spoof movie trailer on You Tube where The Shining is given comedy music and a light-hearted commentary. The result is what appears to be a fun, family film.

So, I produced a short piece based in a New York police station and written in a Mickey Spillane-esque style. The accent, 1950s detective thriller/Bronx.

It reads well and everything fits.

But, read it with a broad East Anglian burr (think Goodnight Mr Tom) and it’s suddenly a slow-paced Inspector Morse type of story. It jars a little when the old, yokel accent meets the American vernacular but overall it works surprisingly well.

Funny thing is, I think I prefer it that way…

Trojan Code Competition

To celebrate the ¬†publication of The Trojan Code, planned for next month, I’ll be running a competition to win the original proof paperback copy. The proof copy is the first one off the printers and is used to detect any final errors. As such it might have handwritten margin notes and crossings-out. It’s a unique prize and of course it will be signed.

I’ll post more when the publication date is confirmed.

Happy reading

The Trojan Code

‚ÄčThe Trojan Code is finished at last! A final edit now before it goes to be proof read and then i can look at the formatting for paperback and Kindle. 

At 105000 words it’s about 40000 words less than the first two Jake Sullivan novels, but hopefully the pace will more than make up for it.

For those of you who like to peek at the last page before starting the book, trust me… you really, really don’t want to do that with this one.

Hope it will be on sale in time for Christmas. It’ll make a great present.

Who would like a sneaky preview?

By way of a thank you to my blog followers, I’ve added a new page called “Sneaky Peeks,” where you can get ahead of the game by reading the occasional chapter or extract, of my “Work in progress” novels.

Two novels currently feature: The Trojan Code, the first draft of which is about two-thirds complete and Catherine, Blood and Fire, which will be published as Peter Caulfield.

Enjoy and thank you for following.