You mentioned about accents in your reply to me. With the new short story I’m writing, I have something similar to that to show with dialogue.
My main character and a couple of the other characters are orphans who’ve had to fend for themselves on the mean streets of New York City in 1910. The story starts when two agents for the Children’s Aid Society discover them in an alley.
The Children’s Aid Society placed many, many orphaned children in homes “out west” in what we’d call the mid west today. They sent them, with an agent supervising to families on what became known as Orphan Trains.
I need to establish that my main character is uneducated through her dialogue. She cannot speak with my voice. I’m not sure how to do this except that she would say things like “ain’t” and “it don’t” and drop the final “g” off of words that end in “ing.” I don’t want to get too phony or contrived. I want her speech seem natural, but not be the same voice as I would speak with.