A snippet about dialect

The interesting thing about writing a novel is that I fall very fast into the voice of the characters. If the character is from Pittsburgh, little bits of the Pittsburgh dialect come through. But they often get corrected out.

Eli, from Just Business, was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Though he doesn’t have the really thick Pittsburgh accent, he has some of the effects of the dialect. (Hell, I do too, and I wasn’t born here…just raised by parents who were and have spent more than half my life here now.)

One of those effects is the dropping of the “to be”.

Except that doesn’t work so well in novels because it looks wrong and would throw anyone not from Pittsburgh out of the story.

I’ve been proofing the typeset pages of Just Business. There’s a line of dialogue where Eli, who is driving Justin to CMU’s campus, says:

“Where do you want to be dropped off?”

Except that’s not what Eli actually says, not in my brain anyway. What he says is:

“Where do you want dropped off?”

Which is perfectly grammatically correct Pittsburghese. Alas, it was not to be. Or rather, it was to be.

(And this is where anyone from Pittsburgh would insert the Pittsburgh Hamlet Joke. Or not.)