Alternatives for said and asked
cried/ cry out
To break up the monotony of the “he said, she said,” try inserting action.
The other man cupped his hands and lit a cigarette, then flashed Merrick a smile over crooked, yellow teeth. “Don’t worry. ...” He blew smoke in Merrick’s direction. “I got what you came for. The question is,” -- he took another drag -- “do you have what I came for?”
A list of my favorite quirky words
amble (amble along)
nary (a word)
smarts (that smarts)
Examples of accents and slang
alla: all of
toldja: told you
wanta/wanna: want to
don'tcha: don't you
can'tcha: can't you
kinda: kind of
how'd: how did
gonna: going to
watcha: what you
offa: off of
didja: did ya
tellya: tell you
tryna: trying to
letcha: let you
coupla: couple of
willya: will you
wuddya :what do you
hellja: hell did you
lemme: let me
oughta: ought to
gimme: give me
musta: must have
dunno: don't know
shoulda: should have
c'mon: come on
mon: man (Jamaican, etc)
din: then (Jamaican, North American hillbilly, etc.)
dat: that (Jamaican, North American hillbilly, etc.)
boid: bird (Brooklyn)
joik: jerk (Brooklyn)
You can hyphenate a letter and a word when writing a character's accent.
“That there buzzard came outta nowheres, a-swoopin' and a-squawkin' – like he owned the place!”
The same technique can be used to create a stutter.
"S-sorry, Mr. Pr-Price. I'm n-n-not feel-feeling up to v-visiting the wax museum ruh-right now. M-maybe later."
You can also drop a letter and add an apostrophe.
"I ain't doin' nothin' much today, so I can get ta workin' on that truck now -- if'n ya wants me to."
Or you can do away with the letter and apostrophe altogether.
"I ain't doin nothin much today, so I can get ta workin on that truck now -- if'n ya wants me to."
A handy little tool
The Slang Dictionary
Some beatnik slang
Agitate the gravel: To leave
Are you writing a book?: You're asking too many questions
Baby: Cute girl, term of address for either sex
Back seat bingo: Necking in a car
Bad news: Depressing person
Bent eight: a V-8 engine (hot-rodders)
Big Daddy: An older person
Big tickle: Really funny
Bit: An act
Blast: A good time
Blow off: To defeat in a race (hot-rodders)
Burn rubber: To accelerate hard and fast (hot-rodders)
Cast an eyeball: To look
Cat: A hip person (Beats)
Chariot: Car (Beats)
Chrome-plated: Dressed up (hot-rodders, originally)
Classy chassis: Great body
Cloud 9: Really happy
Clyde: Term of address, usually for a normal person (Beats)
Cook, cookin': Doing it well
Cool it: Relax, settle down
Cooties: Imaginary infestations of the truly un-cool
Cranked: Excited (Beats)
Crazy "Like crazy,man": Implies an especially good thing
Cream: Originally, to dent a car. Later, to badly damage
Cruisin' for a bruisin': Looking for trouble
Cube: A normal person
Cut the gas: Be quiet!
Cut out: Leave
Daddy-O: Term of address (Beats)
Dibs: A claim - as in "got dibs" on that seat
Dig: To understand; to approve
Dolly: Cute girl
Don't have a cow: Don't get so excited
Eyeball: Look around
Fake Out: A bad date
Fast: Someone who was sexually active
Fat City: A great thing or place; Happy
Flat out: Fast as you can
Flat-top: A man's hairstyle that is flat across the top.
Flick: A movie
Flip: To get very excited
Floor it: Push the accelerator to the floor
Fracture: To amuse
Fream: Someone who doesn't fit in
The fuzz: The cops
Get Bent!: Disparaging remark as in "drop dead"
Get with it: Understand
Gig: Work, job
Go ape: Get very excited
Goof: Someone who makes mistakes
Greaser: A guy with tons of grease in his hair
Green: New, inexperienced
Grody: Sloppy, messy or dirty
Hang: As in "hang out" which means to do very little
Haul ass: Drive very fast
Hip/ Hep: Someone who is cool, in the know. Very good.
Hipster: Same as above
Hottie: A very fast car (hot-rodders)
Illuminations: Good ideas, thoughts
In orbit: In the know
Ivy Leaguer: Pants style. Also any person who attended an Ivy League college
Jacked Up: Car with raised rear end.
Jacketed: Going steady.
Jets Smarts: brains
Kick: A fun or good thing; Also, a fad
Kill: To really impress
Knuckle sandwich: A fist in the face
Kookie Nuts: in the nicest possible was
Lay a patch: To accelerate so rapidly that you leave a patch of rubber on the road.
Lay on: To give (Beats)
Machine: A car (hot-rodders)
Made in the shade: Success guaranteed
Make out: A kissing session
Make the scene: To attend an event or activity
Nerd: Same as now.
Nod: Drift off to sleep
No sweat: No problem
Nuggets: Loose change
Odd ball: Someone a bit off the norm
On the stick: Pulled together. Bright, prepared...
Paper shaker: Cheerleader or Pom Pom girl
Party pooper: No fun at all
Passion Pit: Drive-in movie theatre
Pile up Z's: Get some sleep
Pound: Beat up
Radioactive: Very popular
Rap: To tattle on someone (Beats)
Rattle your cage: Get upset
Raunchy: Messy or gross in some other way
Razz my berries: Excite or impress me
Real gone: Very much in love. Also unstable.
Rock: A diamond
Scream: Go fast
Shoot low: Be careful
Shot down: Failed
Sing: To tattle or inform on some
Action: What's happening
Axe: Any musical instrument,any tool you use to make your living
Baby: Term of endearment,applied to men or women
Butch: Someone who tags along or bums too much
Cruise: To leave,split,take off
City: Suffix used for emphasis(That scene was drag-city)
Cool it: Relax,calm down,chill
Chick: A cool female,babe
Crash: To stay over
Crash out: To fall asleep,pass out
Dig: Understand,look or listen to,pay attention,to like something
Flip out: Go nuts over
Hipster: One who is cool,and a part of the scene
All that jazz: All that is good,the rest of something
Jive: Offensive,no good
Kat-A cool male
Later: Goodbye,forget it
The Man: Police
The Most: Greatest,furthest out
Pad: Home or other residence,crib
Put on: To string along a square who's not aware of being teased
Shag: To have sex
Short: The last few drags of a cigarette or joint
Square: Un-hip,one who's not cool.L7
The whole loaf: Very good,awesome,hip
Two heels and a bag of stank: Not good, shitty, stank.
Wig out: To get very excited,freak out
A Hughie Lewis: A hip square,a square who thinks they're hip
Elvis food: Really good food that's probably bad for you
86: To delete,do away with
Like accents, slang can help separate characters that are engaged in dialogue. Using slang and accents will help reduce the writer's dependency on words like said and asked.
When it comes to slang don't over do it. Slang changes with each generation. Use it too often in a modern piece, and you may find that your work has become "outdated" rather quickly.
Note: A lot of the beatnik definitions were gathered from the Internet. I've personally found it difficult to locate good sites that have slang and accent info for creative writers.
© Copyright 2016 Gideon Elrod. All rights reserved.