Showing Dialect in Dialogue
Fashions in writing change. Representing dropped letters with apostrophes was a common device with 19th century authors.Modern readers have little patience with this kind of writing.The consensus among today’s writing coaches is that dialect is best expressed with vocabulary, grammar, and easily understood regional expressions, rather than with apostrophes and made-up spellings.For example, the following bit of dialogue conveys rural speech without recourse to dropped letters or misspellings:“That woman runs around with anything in pants. Can’t figure out how her and him got together in the first place. Good Lord knows he’s boring as a fence post.” –Nancy Hartney, Washed in the Water.Words like drawl and whine, and expressions like “a clipped Northern accent” can also be used to suggest a specific way of speaking. In writing dialogue, let the words do the work.
Link back to Maeve Maddox’s post at Daily Writing Tips.