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Children's writers. Anyone about here?

(7 Posts)
Dobble Wed 12-Nov-14 10:25:04

Is it normal to find that your work seems to be mainly dialogue? I know modern books are like that, and all description and plot are driven by dialogue and action but I am worried that it looks about 80% dialogue! What am I doing wrong? I do have description and some 'telling', just not huge chunks of it and it's interspersed throughout the book.

Also, do you have to give first names to peripheral adult characters? I am thinking about the parents of MCs.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 12-Nov-14 12:04:54

Are you on the first draft?
I don't know what age group or type of book you're writing so I don't know if what you're writing it suitable for the group it's aimed at - the only way you will know is by looking at similar things and seeing if they're the same. But it is normal for things like the balance of dialogue, action and description to be wrong in the first draft and need to be fixed in later drafts.
Lots of people starting to write for children have too much telling and too much description, so if you're heavy on dialogue your instincts are probably pretty good, but only you can say whether you would benefit from a bit more scene-setting and action - it might be fine.

Dobble Wed 12-Nov-14 12:43:31

Yes it's the first draft. It's for 8-12 years. I do a lot of reading in this age group anyway because of my children, but the books seem to vary so much.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 12-Nov-14 14:15:40

I think it might become clearer when you've finished the draft, put it away for a few weeks and then come back to it. It sounds like from your reading you think you're in the right ballpark, but whether it feels right for your manuscript is something you need a little bit of distance on it to be able to judge.

tipsyloolah Wed 12-Nov-14 16:59:47

It really does vary, as you say yourself. I don't write books for children (well, I've written them for my own, but I've never tried to have them published; my work is a different genre) but the problem, as always, is that publishers always want what's doing well just now.

So, they want David Walliams - and are throwing lots of money at other celebs to get that market. Personally - not as a writer, but as a parent who has readers in that target market - I don't think he engages kids as much as we're led to believe. Mine never stay up all night to finish one of his.

I think a lot of the comedy ones are very similar, and there's little description in those, but the advice about putting it away for a while is good.

schmalex Thu 13-Nov-14 10:11:45

It's not description so much that you need, but action. I would second the idea of finding something good (and recently published) in the age range you like and analysing that.
I like to read Branford Boase shortlisted books as it is an award for debut children's authors & editors so is a good reflection of how good you need to be to get published if you're not David Walliams!

Dobble Thu 13-Nov-14 23:24:46

Thanks for the tips everyone. Tipsy I know what you mean about David Walliams. I think children read his books because they are funny and easy to get through very quickly. My children have never reread any of his books, even my youngest who goes back to the same old books all the time.

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