Workshop Transcript

Creating Kid-Like Dialogue

with Linda Joy Singleton


berries Close Window to Return



Suzy-Q sets up the speakers table, arranges microphone, chair and fresh flowers

Verla: Wow! Lyra gets FRESH FLOWERS?

_Lyra: It's not time YET

Verla: have to leave and come back as the REAL you.

_Lyra: oh--forgot about that

_Lyra: okay--if you insist upon kicking me out...I'll leave

_Lyra: bye

Christyy: lol

NOTE: lol = Laughing Out Loud

Don_S: Don't leave Lyra

Dani25: Fan letters, flowers, she gets everything

Don_S: nothing wrong with flowers.

Suzy-Q: Just making sure every thing is right for when we start

Verla: I am kicking out the guest of honor...

Verla: until she is dressed properly. The nerve of her. Coming here without being properly attired...(she wasn't wearing her REAL face!)

Suzy-Q: Now she is gone.

Suzy-Q puts pine cones on Lyras seat

Suzy-Q: Shhhhh, don't tell!

Christyy: lol sq

NOTE: SQ is an abreviation for Suzy-Q

Verla: She will come back with her "speaking clothes" on.

Verla: LOL She won't be sitting, sq. She will be standing at the podium

Verla: Hi, all. Lyra is going to start her workshop in about 15 minutes! You are just in time.

Suzy-Q puts a fake spider on the end of the microphone

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Creating Kid-Like Dialogue workshop tonight

*** LindaJoy has joined channel #Kidlit

LindaJoy: If anyone has some dialogue they want to work on tonight, be sure to get it now (g)

NOTE: (g) = Grin

Dani25: I got kicked out. Have we started yet?

Verla: no, dani.

Christyy: nope dani

ahhh1: 6 minutes, Dani

Verla: six more minutes to go

Dani25: Okay

pearlsue: It's Linda Joy tonight, right?

Suzy-Q: Good she hasn't seen it yet!

Verla: Okay...we are going to start the workshop in a few minutes.


Suzy-Q: Let her. I took that away, Verla

NOTE: Lyra is Linda Joy's chat name and many people know her by it. It's shorter to type, too, so you will find many comments made to LindaJoy that are directed to lyra. Both names are for the same person - Linda Joy Singleton.

Verla: Everyone who hasn't been to a workshop before, once we start, please refrain from hellos, goodbys and personal talk, but you are invited AND encouraged to join in the topic discussion. Please feel free to post questions and comments relevant to the topic under discussion.

Suzy-Q: Don't look too closly at the mic, LindaJoy

Verla: giggle

pearlsue: Great crowd for you tonight LindaJoy :-)

Verla: SQ put a pine cone on your chair, lyra!

LindaJoy: (G)

Christyy: verla don't tell on sq!

Suzy-Q: I took it off Verla, Tattle-tale!

LindaJoy: That's okay--I have a character in an unsold book that eats pine cones (g)

Verla: I don't want our guest of honor running off to the emergency room to get her tail end sewn up instead of speaking tonight, sq! Behave yourself!

redtail19: lol, verla

Suzy-Q: Verla you are a party pooper

Dani25: How about pepper in her water?

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Creating Kid-Like Dialogue workshop in progress

Verla: Okay, we are about to begin.

LindaJoy: You have to introduce me, kia (g)

NOTE: kia is Verla's chat name. Comments directed to kia are for Verla.

Suzy-Q goes and sits next to Christyy

Verla: If the questions come too fast, Linda Joy (also known as LindaJoy and Lyra) or I will ask everyone to temporarily hold their questions until you are caught up. Everyone...if you ask a question and it is not answered, it was probably missed...please repost it.

Verla: Okay..I think we are ready to begin, LJ...

redtail19: drum rollllll

Suzy-Q adjusts the mic. making sure the spider can be seen easily

Christyy: dadadadaadadad

LindaJoy: (I don't like spiders!)

redtail19: lol--you are wicked sq!

Suzy-Q: It's only plastic.

LindaJoy: you didn't introduce me (pout)

LindaJoy: But I guess I can start...

Verla: For those who have not met our wonderful lyra/Linda Joy Singleton,

Verla: She is the author of 19 published mid-grade and YA books and one self-published book

NOTE: YA = Young Adult

Suzy-Q sits quietly and behaves herself.

Christyy ties sq to the chair...

Verla: And she just sold another three-book series idea to a publisher last her book total will soon be 23!

serulienne: wow

Suzy-Q: Whistle, whistle, clap, clap


Verla: Linda Joy has a WONDERFUL way of writing for kids...and does great dialogue.

Verla: Okay, NOW you are on, LJ

LindaJoy: Okay, the topics I'll discuss are: age level, tags, slang, and reality dialogue vs. book dialogue

LindaJoy: If anyone brought some of THEIR dialogue to share, we'll do that, too

Suzy-Q: I have, but I want to wait.

LindaJoy: (Good, SQ!)

LindaJoy: Certainly for E-Z readers and early chapter books, the sentences have to be fairly complete and short w/simple words

LindaJoy: I mostly do middle-grade, so that's the area I can talk about the best

LindaJoy: Do you have any questions yet?

Verla: (I can help some with picture book-age dialogue, Linda)

LindaJoy: Yes, Verla

LindaJoy: Picture book dialogue is SO varied. Because it's being read by adults, it's usually more sophisticated.

Verla: Can you give us some of the basics of good dialogue, Linda?

Verla: I know that for one thing, it MUST sound realistic to the reader

LindaJoy: GOOD is a personal choice...not everyone would agree on what is the best

Verla: But there IS good dialogue and bad dialogue

LindaJoy: Yes, Verla.

LindaJoy: (I knew this was going to be a hard topic to explain!)

Verla: for instance, you would NOT have a three year old saying, "Mother, may I please have six cookies with my lunch today after we get to the park?"

MelLane: I've always read good dialogue LEADS somewhere, bad is just reporting a realistic conversation.

LindaJoy: Good points, Mel & Verla

LindaJoy: When I use dialogue, it's either to show character or move the plot

Verla: The three year old would be more apt to say, "I want cookies."

LindaJoy: And maybe add..."NOW!"

Verla: LOL! (Laughing Out Loud) I DID have Now! On that sentence and I erased it before posting it, Linda!

Nomadic- raises his hand :)

LindaJoy: yes, Nomadic?

Verla: You don't have to ask to speak, nomad...just jump in.

Nomadic-: kids don't always speak "correctly" ... grammer, dialect, etc. how much should we duplicate the way kids really speak in our writing?

Dani25: Like "

Dani25: "I hate you, Sara!"

Dani25: shows character?

LindaJoy: That's one of my topics, so I'll jump there

LindaJoy: I call this "reality vs. book" ... because you can't write the way kids really speak

LindaJoy: There would be all kinds of duh, um, yeah, uh huh, and some grunts that only teenagers can decipher

Verla: No! If you put in all the ums and ahs and stuff in real speech, your reader would put the book down long before they got to the "good stuff."

LindaJoy: If you ever listen to teens talk, and actually wrote the words, it might look like gibberish

Don_S: "I want three cookies mom and I'll take two over to timmy," said cristal as she pleaded with her mom with her eyes.

Don_S: "Please Mom." said Christy.

Nomadic-: that part makes sense... but what about sentence structure, use of words, etc?

Verla: Give us an example of what you mean, nomadic?

Nomadic-: for example, the word "ain't" :)

Verla: How old is the child talking, Don?

Don_S: about 10

LindaJoy: There are some very good cases for the use of "ain't"

pearlsue: Dialect vs dialogue...

MelLane: (Ain't is a word in Texas)

Don_S: The spelling is mine and neads some help.

Nomadic-: "ain't" is not a word (so they say :) but is it ok for a charector to continuously use it in dialog?

LindaJoy: That would be dialect--yes, Pearl

Verla: I would use the word ain't if I was trying to characterize a specific person, nomad

MelLane: Can you give us an example of how you use dialog to reflect character?

LindaJoy: I tend to use words like "ain't" if I want to show a less educated kid (or Texan--just kidding, Mel!)

MelLane: Hmmm....

LindaJoy: Okay--I have a small part of my new book (just SOLD) that shows dialogue between a girl and her parent

LindaJoy: This has nothing to do with ain't, but does show some incomplete phrases.

Nomadic-: incomplete phrases.. bingo :) that's just the kinda stuff i mean

LindaJoy: The girl is upset on her first day of school.

NOTE: This book is written in First Person. So when LindaJoy gives her example, you will hear the main character talking and thinking.

LindaJoy: Her uncle asks, "First day of school jitters?"

LindaJoy: My character replies:

"Worse!" I pointed at my chin, feeling like Rudolph only it was my chin that was shining red. "there is NO way in the world I can go to school today."

LindaJoy: "Why? Are you sick?"

LindaJoy: "Probably. Look at my face! It's an outbreak of an incurable disease. I might be contagious."

LindaJoy: (Anyway...that sets her mood, some of her personality, and as it goes on you see the uncle's personality, too.)

Dani25: I heard dialogue is supposed to feel like real people, even if it isn't exactly. So, a few incomplete phrases, and ain't, if that's the way the kid talks

LindaJoy: yes, Dani

LindaJoy: Dialogue comes out of character. So it needs to reflect the person speaking.

MelLane: So, you should know your character WELL in order to reflect their speech, right?

writerc: How do you make characters sound different? Repeat certain types of words?

Dani25: Good question, writerc. All my characters sound the same

LindaJoy: That's a REAL challenge, I can only hope I manage to do.

LindaJoy: But it's like if a girl loves horses, she would use horse terms. A boy wrestler, might talk about pinning.

Verla: EXAMPLE of character "voices."

There are three people in this room. A football player, a cheerleader and a boy from the "wrong side of the tracks." Who is saying each sentence? "If you wore better clothing, people would respect you more." "You gotta build up your muscles if you wanna be somebody at this school." "I ain't gonna change for nobody."

LindaJoy: (good, V)

LisaW1: I think if your charcters are real to you, they will have distinct 'voices'

pearlsue: Agree, LisaW1.

LindaJoy: That's the way it's supposed to be, Lisa...although sometimes you might have to rewrite a lot to reach that point

KarmaWilso: You walk in their shoes when writing their dialogue.

LisaW1: exactly Karma. You have to get into their head to hear their voice

MelLane: I agree. KNOW your characters, make them REAL to you, and they

MelLane: will sound different. Right?

serulienne: What about incomplete somethin' instead of somethinG perhaps.

LindaJoy: incomplete spellings is more of a dialect or slang thing

serulienne: Is it acceptable to use them I meant.

LindaJoy: Yes--it's okay to use slang/dialect

Dani25: Maybe a certain catch phrase when they're angry or excited?

Dani25: Only used occasionally, I'd think

LindaJoy: Okay--you're getting ahead of me

serulienne: ok

LindaJoy: My next topic was going to be slang...

Dani25: Backing up

KarmaWilso: Dani, with character developement those phrases seem to just appear.

Nomadic-: reminds me of a charector from a book i read as a kid that always said "for pete's squeak" :)

NOTE: :) = A sideways Happy Face

LindaJoy: That's a good example, Nomad

LindaJoy: I wrote an article on slang once and I listed the words that I feel are fairly timeless or at least logical even when they get outdated

pearlsue: Think about the people you know...if your spouse was angry at you, what would he say? And how would that be different from if your child was expressing anger at you? Your characters should be just as 'real' to you...then distinctive dialogue is not a problem...

Verla: I often give my characters a certain word or saying that they use a lot. Like one person might say, Cool! All the time.

Verla: Another might talk rather formally...with precise diction and pronounciation...

LindaJoy: Cool is one of the okay words.

MelLane: Can you name some others, LindaJoy?

LindaJoy: Other slang that has the Lyra-approval are:

LindaJoy: yeah, super, uh-huh, cool, hot, oh boy, huh, wow, hope, hey, yuck, gross, nerd, okay, darn, and oops

Dani25: Heh heh. I'll put that in my cover letter. This slang is Lyra approved

tinaeva1: Must have missed the Lyra approval--what is that?

LindaJoy: There are some books that use VERY current slang, and I really don't advise that

MelLane: Me, too, Dani! <g>

LisaW1: but you don't use them all in the same sentence, right LindaJoy

LindaJoy: Not usually (g)

Nomadic-: so Lyra approved slang would be those words that "span the generations" ?

LindaJoy: Yes, nomad

Nomadic-: ok...

LindaJoy: You don't just use slang to have a kid feel, you use the sentence structure

MelLane: Example, please, LindaJoy.

LindaJoy: Instead of saying something like: I can't stand my teacher.

LindaJoy: You might say: "My teacher is totally unfair."

LindaJoy: (This is off the top of my head--nothing brilliant)

Verla: Or...My teacher is rotten!

KarmaWilso: My teacher has a mental defect.

KarmaWilso: He is SO lame!

KarmaWilso: :-)

Verla: Those are GOOD examples of showing character, karma!

writerc: What about historical characters? How much gives it flavor? How much makes it hard to read.

MelLane: Oooh, good question, writerc!

Verla: When doing historical stuff, I tend to like to hear some words of the times, but not dialect. (I often put books down that have a lot of dialect in them. I find them VERY tiring to read. Just a single word, here and there is plenty for me)

MelLane: Where do you find the words of the times, Verla?

Verla: Research, mel!

writerc: There is a book on Colonial English that I've used once.

Verla: Read up on books of the times. There are word books at the library that will give you the slang and common phrases of different time periods.

ClaraRose: that would be a good reference

Verla: What I do, is use a few words that set the scene..remind the reader what time period he is in.

Verla: For instance, in my Gold Fever book...set in the 1800's, when Jasper comes home and his family asks him, "Where's the gold?" He replies, "Warn't like told."

LindaJoy: And that's a GREAT example of dialect, Verla

LindaJoy: I tend not to like dialect much in big doses, but just a bit words well sometimes

MelLane: Hmmm... where do you find those books, Verla? Reference aisle?

Verla: Yes, Mel...ask your reference librarian. The one at my library is FANTASTIC. She knows right where EVERYTHING can be found!

LindaJoy: Here's a phrase from a more cool character in my new book:

LindaJoy: "Darned straight, girlfriend." Starr's laugh was deep and musical. "You don't put on acts. I can tell about people really quick, you know. Like today in algebra, when the teacher was messing my mind with confusing problems, you came over and explained it to me. You didn't try to make me feel dumb by pulling an attitude."

LindaJoy: ok--any questions (or some I missed?)

LisaW1: I think we need to stress the importance of dialogue

Don_S: "I like my truck just fine," said Harold as he picked it up and held it tight. "That's all right Harold." "You can bring it with you." "It doesn't make any diffrenct what tom says." "He does not have a fine red truck like you have," Jimey reached out his hand and patted Harold on the shoulder. That's a great truck Harold," Jimmy said as he smiled at Harold. And Harold smiled back. "Thanks... Thanks a lot."

Verla: If those are toddlers, talking, Don, their words are too sophisticated.

Don_S: OK Verla I'll fix it up later. Make it simpler and more pointed.

LindaJoy: Age level is a HUGE consideration

LisaW1: I agree LindaJoy

LindaJoy: I enjoy writing mid-grade and older because I don't have to worry about knowing age-level words

Suzy-Q: How about this in dialect: "Quickly, chile', before Miss Nina's burns her hands on you wash water," she said.

LindaJoy: good, sq

Verla: That's excellent, sq!

Verla: You know immediately that this is a black nanny from the past talking.

Suzy-Q bows

MelLane: How much dialect is too much?

LisaW1: Good question Mel

KarmaWilso: Good question.

MelLane: I mean, like Uncle Tom's Cabin is almost unreadable, yet everyone enjoys Huck Finn.

Verla: If you let the kids talk more or less normally...but stick in just a FEW "period" words, then it would give the flavor without overwhelming the reader.

LindaJoy: I would keep it to the barest minimum...just enough for accuracy, Mel

Nomadic-: i'm not sure how to phrase this, but...

Nomadic-: if you think of stories like the hardy boys, or 3 investigators, the dialog has a very unique sound (from the time period?) should this be attempted when writing historical fiction?

Nomadic-: or does it just put off kids (the way the before-mentioned series unfortunately do?)

LindaJoy: Kids are very forgiving for their favorite series, Nomadic...just want a fun fast read

LindaJoy: I think if the dialect is in almost every paragraph, it's TOO much

LisaW1: yes, LindaJoy. Watch too much phonetic mispellings

Suzy-Q: I had a lot of dialect in my first drafts of Escaped, found that they slowed the story down, You really just want enough to give the piece flavor, but not so much as to smother your work.

LindaJoy: Excellent point, SQ

LindaJoy: Okay--does anyone want to share some of their work to discuss

Verla: Kids LOVE lots of dialogue, mel.

MelLane: I understand that, Verla, but how much dialect should you put in a "normal" dialogue?

Verla: some books are almost ALL dialogue. It puts lots of white space on the pages, which makes the book more inviting and less scary/ponderous for readers

LisaW1: I like white space:-)

tinaeva1: When you use sentence structure to indicate a specific manner of speech, you need to stay true to it, don't you?

LindaJoy: I used to write more dialogue...but as I grew more skilled, I try to mix in other senses more

Verla: I agree with Linda Joy. Put in just a word here and there. Sprinkle the manuscript with just enough dialect so you get the "feel" of the person, but don't overwhelm the reader. Lots of times, you can say things that give the feel without the dialect, too. Let me think of an example for you...

Verla: 1) TOO MUCH DIALECT: You's needs a whippin, chile, Nanny said. 2) DIALECT FLAVOR WITHOUT MAKING IT HARD TO READ: You're just begging for a whipping, chile, Nanny said

Nomadic-: what about "dialog in thoughts" if the makes sense? for example, if you have a charector thinking to himself alot, would you have him "think" in the same way he/she'd talk?

LindaJoy: I use the "I thought" or "I wondered" often, Nomad

MelLane: Any recommendations on "tagging" the speakers?

KarmaWilso: I have a character in my mid-grade who uses some language...I wonder if it's too offensive, though it shows his character effectively.

KarmaWilso: I don't say any words that are outright cussing.

KarmaWilso: But, for instance, the boy is a bigot and he uses the word nigger.

KarmaWilso: And hell.

LindaJoy: Karma--you have to be careful in your choice of the words. If you NEED to say a forbidden word why not try *****

LindaJoy: I wouldn't have the courage to use that word, Karma--you'll have to weigh the pros & cons

KarmaWilso: I don't use it in any sort of "cool" way...but the character is strongly bigoted, and in the time and era he wouldn't have said anything else.

LindaJoy: That's one of the challenges about doing historical.

Dani25: It might be controversial, but it does help show character

Dani25: A publisher might change your book to young adult from midgrade, because of that

Nomadic- talked with y'all about the same kinda thing once... a charector who's parent was verbally abusive, and used a lot of foul language directed at the kid

LindaJoy: Do you want to go on to "tags" next...the cement that hold dialogue in?

writerc: Is tagging the he said, she saids?

LindaJoy: yes, writerc

Nomadic-: i read once that tags end up being pretty much invisible (for adult readers) Is this the case with kids, too?

LindaJoy: I used to think that the ONLY way to use the tags were Mary said. He said. I felt it was wrong to switch it to "said Mary."

Nomadic-: and in my reading, i never conciously take note of the tags

LindaJoy: tags ARE invisible (and you *can* use the word, "hell," Karma)

LindaJoy: As for tags...I've learned to really use them to move my story and show my character.

LindaJoy: I still almost NEVER put the "said" first, but now I know it's okay if I want to

tinaeva1: Examples? LindaJoy

writerc: What about using a little action of a character so you can skip the "Irvin said?"

Verla: that works VERY well in a lot of cases, writer

LindaJoy: I enjoy putting in the tags that show movement. Like

LindaJoy: (example of tag to show mood & character):

LindaJoy: "How is my uncle?" I asked, afraid to hear the answer. I clenched my hands together. "Is he...will he make it?" The nurse glanced at the clipboard again, bit her lip, then shrugged. "I don't know."

Suzy-Q: "If'n you's don be knowin Mas'er Lockwood than whas you be don down heres youselves?" works much better as. "If'n you don't know Mas'er Lockwood than what you be doing down here you selves. .

LindaJoy: yes--SQ--the first was hard to understand.

Verla: MUCH better, sq. Easier to read but still keeps the flavor of the time period

Verla: One thing that is VERY important, is to make sure your character tags are REAL. You CANNOT have a character say: "No! I won't do it," she trounced.

Verla: You cannot "trounce" a word.

KarmaWilso: LOL Verla!

KarmaWilso: I used to do that ALL the time...until I read an article at the slushpile saying it was all wrong... :-(

LindaJoy: I also heard that you can't hiss without a s word.

LindaJoy: I always mix the action and the "said"

LindaJoy: And for older kids, in young adult more often, you can get rid of MOST of the tags if the dialogue bounces back & forth

Verla: Yes! For instance... Jody threw a plate across the room at Pete. "You're a jerk!"

LindaJoy: But the younger kids need to be reminded who is speaking

LisaW1: the 'saids' actually disappear to the reader

LindaJoy: But when dialogue is flowing without tags, you need to put something in ocasionally to avoid the "talking head" syndrome

Verla: Yes, very true, LindaJoy. When doing for younger kids, you MUST put the tag line in for each speaker. Kids just learning to read can take a LONG time to finish struggling through a sentence. They need to remember who was talking at the end of it!

writerc: In picture books because of page turning the paragraphing doesn't give clues as to who is speaking so you have to use the tags.

Verla: Sometimes, the pictures themselves can be the tag lines in picture books, writer.

writerc: Never thought of that. Great thought, Verla.

Verla: The child can be talking and the picture will show him standing there waving his arms up at his mother while she is frowning at him...or smiling at him....or whatever

redtail19: as a writer, how do you do that Verla? since the illustrator chooses how to do a pic?

Verla: I just write the story, red. And let the illustrator take over. If I can leave a tag off, I do. If I feel it HAS to be there, I put it in. But sometimes, in the editing process, those tags will be taken out because of the way the illustrator has chosen to do the drawings.

redtail19: comprende. thanks V

Don_S: Well If you think of tags as opportunities to show emotion or character mood you can move away from the standard he said she said and begin to reveal character and movement in your story. I look at them as chances to show off my character.

LindaJoy: yes, Don

Verla: Good way to do it, Don

MelLane: Any recommendations on "tagging" the speakers?

LindaJoy: Lots of suggestions, Mel for tags:

LindaJoy: Some tags I've used are: My voice wavered as I spoke. I exploded. I babbled, backing away. "Ohmygod!" I cried, my hands covering my mouth.

LisaW1: I suggest you read alot of what's out there to get good examples of dialogue. It's so varied.

LindaJoy: yes, Lisa

Verla: yes, but most of all...KNOW your character and get inside him/her

LindaJoy: One of the BEST suggestions, which I'll probably repeat because it's SO important, is just to read your dialogue out loud--let your ears hear it

Verla: If you are a prim, prissy person, you will not say the same thing that an uneducated kid from a half-way house would.

LindaJoy: I often have my adult characters speak in clearer and longer sentences, but the kids are shorter with more excitement in less words

tinaeva1: LindaJoy, does the editor get involved in changing dialogue?

LindaJoy: Most editors won't change your dialogue much--although I have have editors who have changed EVERYTHING

MelLane: Everything?

LindaJoy: I had ONE editor...who would take my sentences and twist them around, change tags, EVERYTHING--to sound like her

Verla: yikes, LindaJoy!

LindaJoy: I had those manuscripts returned without one single page untouched

Verla: Good grief. I hope you didn't work much with THAT editor, Linda.

LindaJoy: Just two books with her (g)

redtail19: sounds miserable

LindaJoy: But what I found out that the more prestigious the house--the less they tried to rewrite me

Verla: A GOOD editor will help YOU to make your book the best it can be...but will allow you to do all the rewriting.

MelLane: I think I would have given up on that book!

LindaJoy: I just did what she asked, Mel

LindaJoy: I have some closing tips, when we're ready (g)

Verla: YIKES! Already? It can't be an hour already!

Suzy-Q: Is it that time already?

KarmaWilso: Wow, this one went FAST!

MelLane: It can't be time...

MelLane goes to check the clock.

Verla: 12 more minutes, Linda Joy...

LindaJoy: What questions did I miss? Anything?

writerc: Dialogue is supposed to move the action along, but I find it often stalls the plot. Any suggestions?

Verla:'s what you are putting IN your dialogue, then, writer.

KarmaWilso: What?

LindaJoy: Your dialgoue, writer, should come FROM the plot

LindaJoy: Ask yourself what each character wants and that's what they should be talking about--their plot goal

LisaW1: never talk without a purpose, right?

LindaJoy: Not if you can help it

LindaJoy: Sometimes the purpose can just be to set the stage, show character and hint at motivation

MelLane: I always have a purpose, Lisa. :0)

Don_S: writerc, if you have a clear idea of your plot use your tags to get you from one point to another. Ther are great leads to the next scene. Give it some thought about how you want to try and experiment with the Idea.

writerc: Don S, I like your idea, I'm gonna experiment with it tomorrow.

KarmaWilso: I always start out with a purpose, but lose it in the fray!

LindaJoy: Once I knew what those two characters wanted in that story, I knew what they would talk about

Verla: Yes, if your characters are planning a devious trick on another kid, then the dialogue should move that plot"When he comes into the room, we need to have the pinecone already sitting on his chair...and make sure YOU distract him so he doesn't see it before he sits down." Sean leered with an evil look in his eye. "Can't you just see it now? Ha ha ha ha ha!"

LindaJoy: oh--I didn't mention contractions

LindaJoy: The one thing I tend to do when rewriting is go back and take the I am and will not and make them I'm and won't--because kids speak that way

KarmaWilso: What about contractions?

KarmaWilso: Whew!

Verla: But NOT in Easy Readers...there you have to do just the opposite.

KarmaWilso: I thought you would say not to use them so much!

KarmaWilso: My text is riddled with them... :-)

LindaJoy: True, V...

LindaJoy: Naw--for mid-grade, anyway, contract all you want!

LindaJoy: In a recent story, I wasn't sure what to do next and realized I had not come up with subplots for two sub characters

LisaW1: good points LJ

LindaJoy: I often start my books with dialogue. Like one book begins with a brother asking his sister, "Hit me!"

writerc: Wow, I love that opening.

LindaJoy: Dialogue can be a great opening hook.

LindaJoy: That book was rejected a lot...

LindaJoy: But that was before I rewrote it with that more active opening (g)

Suzy-Q: How would this work for an opening? "Mike, you better get down here and help me," I yelled, "Dad said he wanted this basement cleaned before he got home tonight. I'm not doing it alone!" I turned to face the job ahead of me.

Suzy-Q: "I'm coming!" Mike called from around the corner. "Keep your shorts on. You're always in such a hurry, Rach. Why we have to clean this sticken' old basement any ways."

Verla: sq...I would leave out the words, I yelled, in the first paragraph. You don't need them. You can TELL she is yelling.

LindaJoy: Okay--now I'm going to leave you with my five tips

LindaJoy: (some of this will be repetitive....)

LindaJoy: 1. To learn how teens or younger kids speak, read their magazines and watch their TV shows.

LindaJoy: In the magazines, especially, read the letters and the sections about their embarrassing moments--could give plot ideas, even!

KarmaWilso: Oh goodie... I love Sabrina! :-)

LindaJoy: Nice dialogue, SQ!

LindaJoy: (I love Sabrina, too--have two of the dolls!)

LindaJoy: Well #2 was actually the watch TV part (g).

LindaJoy: So #3: Listen to real kids talk

redtail19: and don't forget Clueless!

MelLane: Why Clueless, red?

LindaJoy: Actually you have to consider that tv shows are exaggerated dialogue mostly

LindaJoy: Like the kids in Full House were SO rude to be "cute."

KarmaWilso: Ugh...

LindaJoy: And Clueless is REALLY full of trendy dialogue.

KarmaWilso: full house....ugh and double ugh...

KarmaWilso: Olsen Twins....triple and quadruple...UGH!

LindaJoy: Actually for older kids I'd recommend Buffy & Dawsons Creek or 7th Heaven

LisaW1: TV has lots of BAD dialogue--corny

MelLane: My kids LOVED Full House!

LindaJoy: Sabrina's dialogue IS great for midgrade

LisaW1: Buffy has very witty dialogue

LindaJoy: (And I liked Full House, too, just angry when kids were rude for a joke's sake)

MelLane: I watch all of ABC's Friday night shows.

redtail19: it's fun, Mel--and exaggerated, yes, but then I go to sub, and the kids pick it up and have a ball taking it even further

MelLane: Ah! Thanks, red, I didn't know that.

LindaJoy: #4. Read books by your favorite publisher (to learn how the editors think kids talk) and by your favorite writers--because you like them (g)

LindaJoy: and #5...which you can all probably guess

Verla: Hey. I don't know what #5 is!

LindaJoy: Write, write, rewrite, and then write some more. Practice is part of the road to writing smooth and kid-like.

Verla: Oh. Grin. Okay

Nomadic- would like to throw in one question before the end .... what is your favorite author (in terms their use of dialog) ?

KarmaWilso: Paterson.

Nomadic-: bridge to teribithia paterson?

Dani25: Paterson for me, too

writerc: Paterson!

LindaJoy: My favorite authors are Peg Kehret, Peni Griffin, Joan Lowery Nixon, Willo Davis Roberts

Verla: Read Linda Joy's books. She has GREAT dialogue in her books.

LindaJoy: Thanks, Verla

MelLane: I agree. My reader LOVES your books. She WON'T stay out of my copies!

KarmaWilso: Yep.

Verla: I like Paula Danziger!

Verla: Her dialogue is really real

LindaJoy: Paula is good at dialogue and so is her pal Ann Martin

Nomadic- likes danziger

LindaJoy: Actually the Baby-Sitter's Club is good for mid-grade dialogue--the early ones that Ann wrote

Dani25: Ann Martin, too. I used to devour Baby-Sitter's club books

LisaW1: I like Louis Sachar who remembers what being a kid is really like

LindaJoy: Louis Sacher IS is Bruce Coville

LisaW1: Barbara Park

writerc: Naylor too

Verla: There are a LOT of good books out there with great dialogue examples in them.

Don_S: Did you get in number #5 LindaJoy or did I over look something?

LindaJoy: WRITE...

LindaJoy: Actually there were just four because #1 was magazine and #2 was tv

Don_S: ok

KarmaWilso: #5 is eavesdrop on your teenagers....

KarmaWilso: You'll get an EARful.

LindaJoy: #3 was listen to kids talk

Verla: #5 was write, write, rewrite and rewrite!

LindaJoy: Eavesdropping is good, too (g)

MelLane: Hey, Karma, I do that all ready... Is it ok to take away the phone and talk to whoever they're talking to?

MelLane: She isn't too fond of it, but she lives with it.

Don_S: I'd say #5 would be take your favorite book with it's dialogue and proctice typing It.

LindaJoy: That can be a good exercise, Don

KarmaWilso: Missed that one. :-)

Dani25: Save the hardest tip for last, huh

Verla: (I paid attention.)

LindaJoy: rewriting is SO important.

LindaJoy: I make lots of changes during the rewrite stage--usually simply the dialogue

Verla: Hey, Linda Joy...this was a great workshop! Thank you SO much! Whistle...Whistle...stomp stomp stomp!

LindaJoy: whew! Am I done? I can relax (g)

Suzy-Q hands Lyra a gourmet caramel apple. Dripping with caramel, chocolate and nuts

LindaJoy: thanks, sq!

Suzy-Q: You're welcome.

MelLane: It was EXCELLENT, Linda... I enjoyed it tremendously.

redtail19: Thanks, LJ

writerc: Thanks.

KarmaWilso: Thanks Linda!

Dani25: Clap, clap (hides extra pinecones)

Verla: LOL Funny Dani!

KarmaWilso: Mel, proablaly not with your teenager, but I think it's great! :-)

LindaJoy: Thanks everyone for coming (or trying to come)!

Verla: Nice crowd, lyra!

Don_S: Thanks Kia and LindaJoy for the workshop. It was fun.

Christyy: thank you for the workshop lyra!

LindaJoy: And the samples I shared mostly came from my book that just SOLD

Suzy-Q quickly unhooks the mic so the spider won't bother LindaJoy and more.

Christyy: lol

ClaraRose: excellent job, Linda.

LindaJoy: I think we all are practicing dialogue by being in here--typing all our words instead of saying them

KarmaWilso: Well, the writer needs to rewrite the dialogue... :-)

LindaJoy: We are all reading each other's words, hearing the difference voices in our head, and then writing our own thoughts--great practice

Christyy: well, we all ARE practically dialog... I've never seen a real're all WORDS to ME!

tinaeva1: Thanks alot Linda Joy. Sorry I was late (no one was here when I came at 9:00)

Suzy-Q: You sure you came to the right room?

Verla: One gal emailed me and said she came in and the room was empty! But we were all here.

Verla: So she had to be in the wrong place.

LindaJoy: Sometimes that happens, Verla--hit a "ghost chatroom"

KarmaWilso: She must have put a small k.

Suzy-Q: small k wouldn't matter

Dani25: Or we're not really here. Maybe it's the Twilight Zone

LindaJoy: that could be...but sometimes there are just glitches

KarmaWilso: LOL

Dani25: I put a small k

Harazin: No, Verla. Sometimes that happens to me and I have to start over.

MelLane: Ah! Karma! Great detective work!

Christyy: we're all dreaming... we all THINK we're here...

LindaJoy: hmmm...realistic dream (g)

Suzy-Q: she could have misspelled the room. I have done that.

Dani25: We're all characters in some writer's story

LindaJoy: Actually...this just occurred to me...

Verla: Yes, small k takes you to the wrong room if you are coming in through the Talk City website, sq

Christyy: neat thought Dani!!!

Christyy: LOL

tinaeva1: That was me and I went there from Verla's page. It was Kidlit and it stayed empty for 10 min.

Harazin: LJ, Verla, sorry I missed it. Couldn't get into kidlit for a long while.

Verla: I'm sorry, too, harazin

Harazin: I came into kidlit 2x tonight and it read 0 people. It didn't even count me.

tinaeva1: Is there really a ghost room?!!

MelLane: Yes.. Tina... it's a MIRROR room.

LindaJoy: The ghost room only appears to annoy people

Verla: WELL, the NERVE of this room, Harazin & tina!

Verla: Bad room. Bad Bad room.

Suzy-Q: LOL

Verla sends the Kidlit room to the corner until it starts behaving!

redtail19: you go, verla-- spank the room-lol

Suzy-Q ponders how Kia will spank a room.

Harazin: Verla, really, we're not crazy. Really.

LindaJoy: Speak for yourself, Harazin

tinaeva1: Well I felt very lonely.

Suzy-Q: You have to be crazy to write for children.

Christyy is DEFINITELY crazy...

Verla: Just a wee bit crazy, sq.

MelLane: Ah. Then I qualify.

redtail19: yes, Mel

Verla: just a wee bit

Suzy-Q: I am certifiably crazy....

LindaJoy: Publishing is not a sane business

KarmaWilso: ;-)

---------END OF WORKSHOP---------



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