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  1. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    childish tone?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by black-radish, Apr 22, 2010.

    Heya WFers!

    I have a little problem, I've been working on my novel for a year now. It's a fantasy novel for around 14 year olds (based on the fact that my niece is 14 and she loves it).

    But lately when I read some of my older work I notice the tone is just quite childish. The scentences are like, straight forward and clear. But maybe it's just me being too hard on myself?

    Also, I'm currently writing a screenplay, and I the way the dialogues are written, I just don't think anyone says it like that in real life.

    Do you ever had to change your tone a bit? what kind of things helped change it?

    I was thinking about reading some more, see how the tone of some books are.

    Thanks for any advice!

    ~ Lola
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    smart move... that's what all would-be writers should do before attempting to write something of their own... just as would-be architects must see/study many buildings before trying to design one...

    you need to study novels written for the age range [not just a single age] you want to target, before sitting down to write one... or, in this case, before attempting to rewrite one... the vocabulary/sentence structure, 'voice' and so on must be tailored to those who are meant to buy and read the book... and don't just go by what one single 14-year-old says, as she may not be your average/typical early teen reader...
     
  3. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    Funny you should mention that actually. I've just been given 24 points on dialogue that we're going to turn in to videos to help promote the blog so it's something I've been thinking about quite a bit at the moment.

    If you're having problems then reading is something you can do BUT it's just as important to listen. Try getting some audio books / radio plays because all of a sudden the words on the page are performed and you can hear the way the voice modulates, the cadences in speech and the way that different accents will, by there very nature, force certain points of punctuation within the dialogue.

    I know everyone always says you have to read in order to write but that's not actually true. What you really need is a good understanding of the medium for which you're writing. For many writers that is books, so it's good research to read books. If you're writing a script, however (and I'm speaking from a position of writing comedy), it's no good reading scripts because it is the dialogue that is paramount. You need to hear dialogue being spoken to have a grasp of how to write it. Reading a script will only serve to show you the conventions of script writing and not the art therein.

    Tell me, how well do you have the voices of your characters in your mind? Can you hear what they sound like when you write a line for them?
     
  4. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Try reading your book out loud. Or better yet, get someone else to read it out loud to you. You'll soon hear exactly if it's too childish or not.
     
  5. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    yeah I do :)

    And when I'm writing a screenplay I always have the conversations out loud, now I'm looking at the scentences one by one and seeing how I would pronounce them as actor, which helps me because I kind of need to transfor some scentences to something a bit more colloquial (the characters are around 17, a bit of slang or half scentences is normal in a conversation )

    And maia, I read a lot and I study the books, I just never specifically looked at the tone, it's something I will investigate now :)

    And the comment on my niece was a bit of a joke, I had people read it from different ages, everyone above 14 enjoyed it, someone of 12 thought it was too hard, I just suggest 14 as age, but older people enjoy it too, that's the benifit with fantasy stories :) but while writing I keep in mind it's for early teens.

    I just read it out loud and I think it's just my own mind playing tricks on me, I just see simmilarities between the way I write and the way my mom writes, maybe that's what's bothering me instead of the tone. (well it's the tone that is simmilar, but not per se childish..)

    Anyway, thanks for the help ! :D
     
  6. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    I have to say, I've been really lucky. Ever since starting to write I have had actual, real, trained actors reading my words. Believe me when I tell you that they are the first to complain if a sentence doesn't sit right on the tong. It really taught me a lot.

    What am I trying to get at?

    When you read out what you have written it doesn't always help you because you already have an idea of how it should sound.

    Try getting other people to read it out and see where they want to put breaks, where they need to breathe, where there voice lifts and where they blow your punchline because they didn't realise it was there... Not that I'm bitter or anything.

    I think, if you are trying to get more realism in to the dialogue then somewhere along the line you have to write outside your comfort zone. If you can hear the characters voice then why not try to equate that with a similar character from a different book and ask yourself how they would sound saying the same words. A lot to do with character is actually seeing your story through different eyes so that could help.
     
  7. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    I've been member of an acting troup for 11 years and even attended the youth drama school of amsterdam, this turns out to be a great help for me now with my writing, because I've learned how to work with written text. Still a fresh pair of eyes wouldn't hurt :) But I know actors don't follow the written text word for word, but get te essense and say it in the way their character is, if I apply this myself it could really help me personalize the dialoges a bit more!

    Thanks for the help :D
     

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