Local Color: Colloquialisms

127806151_47That’s right.  I collect ’em.  I don’t know how I got started, but they’re a great way to add voice and attitude to your characters or story.   I grew up in central California, a place ripe with quaint expressions.  Maybe that’s where it started.  Maybe they’re not worth a thousand words, but one well-chosen colloquialism by a character can convey a whole lot to the reader.  Here’s a few of my favorites, gathered from real people who actually used them in their speech, including a few from my childhood that I’ve never forgotten:

  • Happy as a clam at high tide
  • Gotta go shake the dew off my lilly (from the boys in third grade)
  • Rats nest
  • (Do whatever to) it like you stole it
  • Let’s not be pickin’ gnat shit out of pepper here
  • Looks like a ten dollar haircut on a ten cent head
  • Faster than grease though a goose
  • Shallow as a saucer
  • Slicker than snot
  • It’ s all gravy to me
  • Wanker   (the translation I got was a totally useless person)

The right turn of phrase (used judiciously) can be as effective as a simile or add a bit of local color to your prose.  These are a few of mine; I’ll be you’ve got some pretty interesting family and work expressions you can use, too.


This entry was posted in characterization, culture, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.