ast night, while writing, I discovered just how powerful a tool the internet can be.
In the original Tubitz and Mergenstein, there was a scene where they attempt to conceal themselves in a small boggy port (where the idiotic inhabitants work long hours harvesting ferns used for animal fodder). Originally it was on a planet, now it’s simply a port in this sprawling fantasy world.
Most of the dialog for the chapter comes from Tubitz (the svelte thief woman, all deadly and grim and such) talking to the bartender. The point of this conversation is to establish that this fern mulching effort is profitable, it’s been going on for years, that it’s run by a mysterious count, and the farmers (fools that they are) believe in a strong work ethic. This latter point focuses on the fact that the good farmers have their monies “invested” by the count yet never withdraw any of it, preferring to work until they die. Yes, it’s a nice setup, and Tubitz begins to think of the possibilities.
In the original, the bartender comes across as a “guy”. Nothing descriptive, nothing special. Speaks okay, other than the fact that it’s all nonsense about the pride in giving his money away and never cashing out. And it was fine – there were a couple of funny bits and the obviousness of the scam.
When I rewrote it, I wanted to beef things up, to give more effort to the imagery. And, with apologies to all those below the Mason-Dixon line, nothing comes across as dumb as a corn-pone white-trash accent. Look, my model train club is out in a little poor trailer community, and when we speak to the indigenous folks out there about the donut-burning on our grass, the crashing into our property while drunk, the thievery of a disabled member, and the numerous break-ins at the clubhouse, we always get those back-in-the-haller shucks and nobody-I-knows-dun-that lines. It’s a drawl so slow, you know it will never get anywhere.
But it really would work well for dumb-ass farmers that the count is – literally – breeding for stupidity.
I know some words, “this-n” and such. But I did find a couple of sites online that were a scream, ones that captured the essence of “Southern”, and not the Foghorn-Leghorn boisterous south (the ones calling for war against the Northern aggressors) but the ones (without slaves) who actually fought in it. I’d just look at the list, find a word I could use, then scan the dialog replacing all the incidents. In the end, I’ve got a doodle-bug bartender who is as dumb as a post. Perfect.
If it hadn’t been for sites like THIS, I’d have had to watch the entire six seasons of Justified again, just to get my ear wrapped around it.