It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

I am currently working on a rhyming picture book. It has been through a very thorough editing process involving copious cups of tea and custard creams. I thought I was very happy with it until I took it along to meet other people, also known as the SCBWI – British Isles, South East Scotland Picture Book Critique group.

We behaved, our manners were impeccable and then we spoke, my story and I.

Where I live in the world, as in every country really, there are dialects, accents and local sayings that can throw all manner of spanners into the works. Using my native tongue, I created a story but I hadn’t taken into account that not everyone is from ’round these parts’ and some good folk out there might not appreciate what I am trying to achieve. I have a fear of ‘but it doesn’t rhyme very well’ piercing through the air. But they didn’t say that, they just didn’t see the match and thought other words should go in their place. And quite right they were too.

So, I sit here, in my Scottish home and ponder my inner writing voice. I sit alone in a room muttering two words and wondering how on earth I can change them without affecting the rest of the story. Two very simple and completely different words but they mean everything to the protagonist and to the story as a whole.

I repeat the rolling r’s and gruff, deep sound of the words as they roll off my tongue in a slither of Scottish twang. Now that they have been in the voice of others I can see where the confusion may lie. They sound as far away from each other as our Earth is to the stars above.

What are the two words?

Troll and grow.

 

6 thoughts on “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”

    1. We say ‘oh’ whereas others say ‘aw’. So troll is pronounced as trawl which then doesn’t rhyme with grow!

  1. Lucky there are still words that rhyme with grow that we have in common without accent affecting them, Know Glow, Blow, So, Sew, I’m sure you’ll have it settled soon.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  2. Sarah, all respect to you for rhyming in the first place! And all power to your inner writing voice – while those problems are frustrating they’re worth it for the eureka moment when everything falls into place.

  3. Thank you Jan – after being surrounded by amazing talent at the SCBWI PB Retreat this weekend, I do feel I am on the right path and will stick with it while I can!

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