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Dialogue Dillema

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I have been  working on a picture book project  and have come across a problem or two.  My story centers around a family of 5  working together on a farm but i am having a hard time  with the dialogue between all my characters . Any help would be great 
#1 - December 29, 2018, 10:58 AM

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Hi Elizabeth,

Can you post a sample or example of what your characters are trying to convey for us to look at?

Generally, for a picture book, I would always include dialogue tags:

"Did you pick the apples?" asked Mom.
"Five of them," said Bob.
"The green ones?" asked Dad.
"No, the red ones," said Molly.
"But I wanted pears!" said Bill.

I find when I am reading picture books to my 2-year-old, I add dialogue tags where there aren't any for clarity, but a book for an older child might be OK just with context.
#2 - December 29, 2018, 01:40 PM
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Here is an example 

“Coming Mama“ Sally called dressing quickly and following her brothers downstairs.  “We have a big day ahead of us your father says that the potato plants in the garden are ready to be picked” Mrs. Riley said as the three children ate.
#3 - December 29, 2018, 01:46 PM

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You're having a good start Elizabeth. But dialogue is the one place people can mess up and confuse the reader, so there are a few rules. I hope my little primer on it will help you get a handle on it: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2017/07/dialogue-its-not-just-talk.html

#4 - December 29, 2018, 03:05 PM
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Besides tags, you can use actions to show each character. It's really good to think about ho each person talks. No one will think Mom's words came from one of the kids. Does each kid sound different?

See below for edits that I'm sure fit with Vijaya's advice.
“Coming Mama," Sally called, dressing quickly and following her brothers downstairs. 

“We have a big day ahead of us. Your father says that the potato plants in the garden are ready to be picked,” Mrs. Riley said as the three children ate.
#5 - December 29, 2018, 06:28 PM
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Thanks that helps a lot
#6 - December 29, 2018, 08:16 PM

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You're having a good start Elizabeth. But dialogue is the one place people can mess up and confuse the reader, so there are a few rules. I hope my little primer on it will help you get a handle on it: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2017/07/dialogue-its-not-just-talk.html



Great primer, V!
#7 - December 30, 2018, 12:58 AM
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I agree with Vijaya. That has been my downfall in the past. Children can become confused by unnecessary tag lines.
Perhaps add a preceding paragraph describing the emotion of one of the characters. That might help the reader understand the feelings involved instead of adding the need of tag lines.
Perhaps:
Mama called upstairs.
"Coming," Molly shouted. It was dinnertime.
"We have a busy day ahead," Mama told Molly and her brothers, who  joined at the table. "Your father needs help today."
"I need  help picking the potatoes," Dad told them when he entered. "Molly, did you pick any apples?"
"Five of them," she said.
"But  I wanted pears," Bill said.
I think you can get the emotion of Bill by his argument quote without the need for another tag line. Even at this stage I feel it is too descriptive. There is scope for fewer words when getting the context of the conversation.
#8 - December 30, 2018, 08:20 AM
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 08:39 AM by thunderingelephants »

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