Dialogue is conversation—language as we speak it. Forget that you are writing, and listen. Otherwise your characters will sound stiff and pedantic. No one speaks perfectly correctly in real life: if your character does, he/she will not sound real. Characters come to life when they speak. Good dialogue is the key to making your characters
When a child asks Katherine Paterson, “Is your story true?” she answers, “I hope so. I meant for it to be true. I tried hard to make it so.” Some people think that because fiction is “made up,” it can’t be true. So storytellers are suspect. How can something which never actually happened, about people
We don’t generally grade books for adults by age. But in children’s books the age group really matters. Writing for a 5-year-old is not the same as writing for a 12-year-old. Children’s experience and understanding grow and develop all the time. Everything is changing: ● their vocabulary: the words they know ● the ideas they can grasp
Many people think that writing for children is easier than writing for adults; anyone can do it! It’s true that children’s books are shorter and less complex than books for adults. But it’s a mistake to think of them as a “soft option.” “Don’t write for children unless you must!” says children’s author Joan Aiken.
Stories have been with us from the very beginning of human existence. They go back long before writing and the invention of the alphabet. In some strange way, we all need stories to make sense of life. “Once upon a time, there was the story, told by word of mouth, and that was how it
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