Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for ... Realistic Dialogue

I was afraid that I had used Dialogue for D, but I'm glad to see that I didn't. Today I'd like to talk a little bit about using Realistic dialogue while writing.

As an editor, I work on a lot of books for kids at our press. I've noticed that many of the authors write like how they speak. This is a problem because their audience is not 30+ years old. In order for that reader to understand and identify with the characters in their children's book, the characters need to sound like kids.

I have this same problem. Or, at least I did. I've become keenly aware of the words I use to make sure that they are representative of how kids speak, think, act, etc. The last thing you want an editor to say is, "Great story, can't connect with the author voice." Which means, the dialogue and narrative are not realistic for the storyline/age.

An eight-year-old boy is not going to say the following,
"Excuse me, madam, but could you please pass to me those scrumptious looking PopTarts?" Correct?

Most likely he'd say, "Hey! Can you give me those PopTarts? Uh...please?"

Have you read any kids books that seem like they've been written from an adult's pov, rather than the kid's because of the unrealistic dialogue used?