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Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

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Why is Dialogue Important to your Children's Story?
1/7/2012 12:01:18 PM

Are you wondering why dialogue makes a difference to your children's story? What is dialogue supposed to do anyway?
Deanie's blog will explain it to you.

We’ve talked about some important ingredients for your children’s story. Today we’re going to discuss dialogue and how important it is to your successful story.
First, it’s important to remember that you don’t want to write lots of chatter that doesn’t advance the story. It needs to have a purpose that advances your story plot. Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, many young readers check out the dialogue before they choose to purchase the book. They want to know if it looks interesting and entertaining. They want to check if the subject matter would engage them. You’ll need to place your dialogue so that it supports the action you’re planning for your book.
Next, you need to keep some general rules in mind for your narratives. For example, every time you change speakers, you’ll need to start a new paragraph. You need to frame the statement itself with quotation marks and add a comma, question mark, or period at the end of the sentence.
Here are some examples from Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes:
“Here’s Hattie, speeding down the aisle, holding her bonnet,” said Charlene.
“Good morning, Charlene,” said Hattie, taking a bow. I do love to wear hats!”
You’ll notice that the quotes are only around what is actually speech.
If someone laughs, or runs, it’s part of the action narrative, but not part of speech, so you wouldn’t enclose it in quotes. For example,
Mary laughed. “What a dumb joke you told, Bob.” The quotes only enclose what Mary actually said.
What other hints can we remember to help you write the perfect dialogue? Something that will really help is to spend time with children. Pay close attention to how they talk. They tend to use short sentences. Generally, they don’t offer a lot of sage advice themselves, but they could think about those things, so you can set their thoughts apart by using italics. Here’s another example of that from Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes:
Charlene thought, Hattie’s going to lose her favorite bonnet if she doesn’t slow down. That would ruin her whole day. “Hattie slow down. You’re racing down the aisle. You don’t want your favorite bonnet to fly right off your head.”
In summary, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re writing your next children’s story:
1. Be sure your dialogue advances the story. Don’t write useless chatter that has no purpose.
2. Only use quotes around what is actually said.
3. Use italics when writing a character’s thoughts, to set them apart from actual dialogue. That way, your readers will know exactly what’s happening.
4. Spend time around children so you know how they talk and what’s important to them. Remember to make your characters realistic so they don’t offer advice that’s too mature for them.
Now you have another piece to the puzzle of creating the best children’s story ever.

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More Blogs by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
• Deb Hockenberry Reviews Tails of Sweetbrier! - Saturday, August 24, 2013
• Inteview with Award Winnng Author, Carla Burke - Wednesday, June 12, 2013
• Important Hints on Writing an Outstanding Query Letter - Sunday, April 28, 2013
• What is theme? Do you Need Ideas? - Monday, March 04, 2013
• Looking for the Key to Success? Here it is! - Friday, March 01, 2013
• Writing for Children? Will Someone Steal your Work? - Saturday, December 29, 2012
• Writing for Children? Adding Conflict - Monday, November 19, 2012
• Writing for Children? Be Sure your Character Grows - Monday, October 15, 2012
• Another Amazing Olympian, Hiroshi Hoketsu - Tuesday, July 31, 2012
• Interesting Happening from the Olympics - Monday, July 30, 2012
• Kieran Behan, A Winner Against All Odds - Sunday, July 29, 2012
• The Opening Ceremony - Saturday, July 28, 2012
• Go USA Olympians! - Friday, July 27, 2012
• Who Should Publish Your Story? - Thursday, July 26, 2012
• Five Important Truths About Rejection and Your Children’s Book - Wednesday, July 25, 2012
• A Look at the Inspiring life of Children's Author, Carla Burke - Tuesday, July 24, 2012
• Making your Characters Memorable - Monday, July 23, 2012
• Bored with Writing? What to do Next - Sunday, July 22, 2012
• We're bored, now what? - Saturday, July 21, 2012
• Where do you Find Ideas for Your Children's Stories ? - Friday, July 20, 2012
• Beginners Guide to Creating the Pefect Children's Story - Thursday, July 19, 2012
• What is conflict and why is it Important to your Story? - Wednesday, July 18, 2012
• Have you Ever Heard of Easton, CT? - Tuesday, July 17, 2012
• Conquering "Pikes Peak" - Monday, July 16, 2012
• Keys to Success in your Children's Story - Sunday, July 15, 2012
• Why Setting Goals is Important - Saturday, July 14, 2012
• Reaching Beyond Your Goals Through Therapeutic Riding - Friday, July 13, 2012
• Top Three Reasons why you Should Persevere - Thursday, July 12, 2012
• Random Things About Me - Wednesday, July 11, 2012
• Cody Jackson, Pint Sized Patriot - Tuesday, July 10, 2012
• A Shout Out to my Readers! - Monday, July 09, 2012
• Themes and Morals, What's the Difference? - Sunday, July 08, 2012
• What Should you Write About? - Saturday, July 07, 2012
• Overcoming Writer's Fright - Friday, July 06, 2012
• It's P. T. Barnum's Birthday-Let's celebrate! - Thursday, July 05, 2012
• Happy Birthday, USA - Tuesday, July 03, 2012
• Consistency-Why is it Important for Your Childrens' Story? - Friday, June 29, 2012
• Creating Memorable Characters for your Children’s Stories - Wednesday, June 13, 2012
• When your Ending Meets the Beginning of your Children's Stroy - Tuesday, February 07, 2012
•  Why is Dialogue Important to your Children's Story? - Saturday, January 07, 2012  

• Do you Remember the First Story you Published? - Saturday, August 27, 2011
• How was Tails of Sweetbrier Created? - Saturday, August 27, 2011

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