This is currently the bane of my existence! As a writer of historical fiction, and essentially, the lives of everyday people at the moment, I can hear them speaking to me in my head – but I often have no idea how to write it so that I get it across to the reader without driving them insane. To me, I can’t write the dialogue of a cockney the same as I would write it for a Scot or the Queen of England. If I did that, it would be harder to get inside the character: the way people speak is part of who they are.
I came across a pretty good site today that gives a great explanation of how and why when it comes to accent and dialect. On the whole, the suggestions make sense and, I think, give a pretty good guide on when, where and how to turn your characters into ‘real’ people.
So over to Charles Carson, via Grammar Girl.