Why You Shouldn’t Use Dialect In Writing

I love J.K. Rowling. I really do. It was Harry Potter that really got me into reading, and it is still one of my favorite books.

But everything has flaws in it, and Harry Potter is no exception. To me, the most annoying was her use of dialect, primarily with Hagrid.

Just to be clear, I don’t mean differentiating words, like using lift instead of elevator or using southern slang. That’s actually good, if you can use it realistically (and know the difference between bleachers and breeches, which I apparently don’t). The problem is when the accent is written in, turning to to ter and so on.

But a lot of highly praised writers use this technique. So why is this a problem? It can sometimes force the reader to take a step back and reread a line of dialogue, ruining the flow of the story. Yes, it can add to the character’s voice in your head as well, but to me it always seemed to jar me out of the story more than add to it.

But then again, that’s just my opinion. What do you think about it?

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