Masters tales

Character’s language

I never thought I’d play around with language and characters but I am…

In the Lord of the Rings the classic character that has a distinctive speaking manner is Gollum.

“Precious…” is all I need to type and you are there seeing the twisted form of the character. Well, I have the same. In one of my stories I have a thorn-bush that speaks (this is a kids story) and the language I came up with is – 

Yes, we does. You have what we needs.” 

This is the rose speaking and very Gollum-like. But then the whole point is that the character is as twisted as the character from the Lord of the Rings. So I have borrowed his speaking manner.

In another story I have a glowing ball of light called a wisp. Here I played around even more with the language, calling on my inner poet.

“It’s-happening-it-is-dangerous,” the light whispered in a musical voice.

“I know,” the old man said. Getting to his feet he moved over to a large marble pedestal. On the top was a black book, about a metre tall and half a metre wide. On the surface ripples echoed from the middle, but every now and then a strange discordant one began from one corner, throwing all the others off.

“I-see-do-you-see?” the light whispered.

The wisp talks in a hurried way with no punctuation. I have also tried to get a rhythm to the speech – dada dada. If that makes sense.

I have played around until the language is almost a description of the character, either twisted or fast. I have found that the use of language in a non-conventional way is great to alleviate or create tension. I say give it a go – take a character and give them a speech impediment or a certain way of speaking, but make sure it suits the character. 

They cursed us. Murderer they called us. They cursed us, and drove us away. And we wept, Precious, we wept to be so alone. And we only wish to catch fish so juicy sweet. And we forgot the taste of bread… the sound of trees… the softness of the wind. We even forgot our own name. My Precious. 

From Gollum’s speech in Lord of the Rings – Return of the King

4 thoughts on “Character’s language

  1. Precious! Pun intended lol No, seriously it is…I find myself doing the same thing with some of my character’s dialogues. Gollum is a hero for dialogue lol

    1. I agree and great to borrow from as long s the character isn’t Gollum-esk. Luckily a thicket of rose bushes aren’t going to be mistaken for a twisted (hobbit?) thing. 🙂

  2. I really admire you for trying this – I think it’s a great way to create really distinctive characters if you can pull it off. I guess the key is to ensure that the dialogue is still really sharp and to the point, even if it seems poetic or strange ie it doesn’t get too rambly or go off at tangents. It’s a great technique for fantasy genre films. I tend to write stories set in the real world, and struggle with giving my characters distinctive voices that aren’t too mannered or caricatures. Your story sounds really interesting; what’s the intended audience?

    1. Thank you. The book with the rose thicket in it is for 7 to 11 year olds and the wisp is a series with a central female character and is for 10 to 16 year olds – middle fiction.

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