TIPS ON TUESDAY: Are You Kidding ? ? ?

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

Last week I had a few words to say (well, that’s not true . . . I so seldom have “few” words!), but I wrote to you about dialogue. As a semi‑continuation, I have a confession to make:

Until last week I had never read even one of the Junie B. Jones books! I know: awful! Right?

So I got this bee in my bonnet that I needed to read some short books, maybe kids’ books, because some of the others I’ve been reading since the Christmas are so massive: I’d always planned to use some kids’ books to help even things out, but I got so tied up some really good, longer books, I lost track of the time. My original aim was (still is) to read 100 books this year.

So I trundled off to the library, went to the children’s section on looked for Barbara Park’s books. Oh, my! What an impressive, colorful, and enormous bunch of books! I grabbed a handful rather indiscriminately — seven, I think — I didn’t need long to choose which ones: after all, I knew nothing about them except that they were about a little girl and were supposed to be pretty funny. Better still, they looked short!Junie B

I put them in order by copyright date, and started with what was evidently the first of this collection: Junie B. Jones and the Smelly Bus. It was cute. It was funny. It was so much of what I felt as a kid!

Now we get to the “dialogue” connection: you want to see how to make your characters “real”? Look at the “dialogue” in Junie B. (And don’t forget the “B”!) It was a quick and fun read.

But better.

It was a lesson in kid‑speak.

Oh, today’s kids might have a few more “techie” words in their vocabularies (this was c. 1992), but otherwise, it could have been a kid from when I was a kid (and that was much longer ago than ‘92). It could have been my neighbor’s granddaughter who visits from time to time. She’s about the right age. She could have been one of my old favorites, Eloise, by Kay Thompson (In fact, the illustrations very much reminded me of Hilary Knight’s illustrations in the Eloise books.)

You need kid‑speak in your books? Read some Junie B. Jones. And for a slightly more “affluent” flavor, try Eloise if you’ve missed it too!

See you next for Thinkin’ on Thursday!

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1 Comment

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One response to “TIPS ON TUESDAY: Are You Kidding ? ? ?

  1. Pingback: Tips on Tuesday: Find a Character Voice | The ABC Writers Guild

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