How to convey accents in fiction writing: Beyond phonetic spelling – by Louise Harnby…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

This article offers guidance on how to self-edit your fiction writing so that accents don’t become the primary story.
Do your characters speak with an accent? All of us speak in ways that are distinctive; we just don’t notice our own accents because they’re ours and we’re used to them.

Oxford Dictionaries defines accent as ‘A distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class.’

Authors who are inexperienced at writing accented language can be tempted to use phonetic spelling. But writing accents is difficult; so is reading them. Most experienced authors and editors will therefore caution against this approach.

Furthermore, spelling and pronunciation are two different things. Says Beth Hill in The Magic of Fiction (pp. 409, 394):

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