“Semantic Wardrobe Malfunction.”
“The Various Stages of Dialogue Undress.”
“The Bah Humbug Complex.”
While I’m sure none of the above make a lick of sense to most everyone out there (including my muse who’s wearing a “You poor thing” look on her fuzzy little face), let’s go with option #3 just for brevity’s sake.
If Charles Dickens had outfitted his iconic Ebenezer Scrooge’s complaint in something as mundane as “Nonsense!” instead of the ever-colorful, ever-memorable “Bah Humbug!” I doubt Mr. Scrooge would be quite so prevalent in our vernacular today.
He’d be boring, grumpy and, well, rather dull.
While Ebenezer is far more complex a character than his classic two word lament, it is this initial choice of dialogue that hooks us and reels us in just far enough for the wonderful story to grab us.
In The Hushing Days, I’m finding myself warring over how to dress the dialogue. If I deck it out in accurate late colonial wear, would it distance the readers from the characters? If I ram “modern” language down over its head, will my readers be the ones with “Bah Humbug!”s on their tongues?
I have no answer, as of yet. Until then, I guess I’ll just don a “Dunce” cap and get on with it.