I’m self-conscious about the dialogue I write. I worry that my characters sound the same, or that when I think I’m writing a 28-year-old paralegal obsessed with taking selfies, she actually sounds like a 45-year-old accountant working in his father’s car dealership. I usually stop myself from even attempting dialects and accents.
This piece, by manuscript editor Arlene Prunkl, is an extremely practical and comprehensive how-to and checklist.
She says: “You don’t need to spell out every diphthong and dropped ‘g.’ Less is more. Whatever combination of techniques you use to render an accent or dialect in dialogue, use them with a light hand. It’s tempting because it’s easiest, to write a dialect or accent phonetically, but if you overdo this, you’ll confuse, bore, insult, or possibly even lose your readers.”
Read more here.