Friday, 13 July 2012

Writing for Children - Dialogue

Assignment 5 of my Academy of Children's Writing Course covered dialogue.  Here is one of my writing tasks intended for 'a boy who is about 9 years' old:

 “Do you know Kev, you’ve always got your head stuck in a book, you need to be careful it doesn’t stay there forever,” said Robert.
“What do you mean, don’t be daft,” said Kevin, smiling.
“I’m serious Kev,” said Robert. “It’s just not cool, all this book stuff.”
“What do you know, you haven’t even got a book in your house,” said Kevin.
“Exactly, there are no books, because I don’t need to read them,” said Robert.
“Look,” said Kevin. “You’re missing out on some great stories and you can learn lots of new words too.”
“Yeah, whatever,” said Robert.
“I’m serious, OK, do you know what vocabulary means? asked Kevin.
“Vocabu what?” said Robert.
“Vocabulary you idiot,” said Kevin.
“Oh, vocabulary, yes of course I know,” said Robert. “Why?”
“So, Rob, what does it mean? asked Kevin.
Suddenly, Robert stood up and made for Kevin’s bedroom door.
“I’m out of here,” said Robert.
“Hang on a minute, you don’t know do you? said Kevin.
Robert looked down at his trainers and shifted his feet.
“Listen, Kev, just get your head back into your book,” said Robert.
“Rob, it’s OK, it’s just that words are so cool,” said Kevin.
“For you maybe, but I’m not into them; maths is my subject, you know where you are, one and one is two, easy,” said Robert.
“Yeah, but it sounds like you’re scared of words,” said Kevin.
“Yeah right, you’re the scary one – Mr Walking Dictionary,” said Robert.
“Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me, Rob, stop ducking and diving,” said Kevin. “I can help you.”
“I don’t need your help,” said Robert.
“Really, look I used to find English lessons hard, until my mum got me a tutor and now I have a vocabulary book, where I write new words and their meaning so I don’t forget,” said Kevin.
“What, so that worked eh, sounds like magic,” said Robert. “You sure you don’t fancy your tutor?”
“No way, she’s well old, at least twenty five,” said Kevin.
Robert burst out laughing. Kevin then reached into his bookcase and showed Robert his vocabulary notebook.
“Take a look,” said Kevin.
Robert hesitated for a few seconds and then took hold of the small red coloured pocket size note book.
“Wow, there are non-stop words in here,” said Robert. You can’t seriously know them all.
“I sure do and I didn’t swallow a dictionary either – you can test me on any word you like,” said Kevin.
“OK, what does accommodation mean?” asked Robert, slowly sounding out the word.
“It means a place to live or work,” said Kevin.
“Yeah, but, wouldn’t it be easier to just use the word home or office?” asked Robert.
“Well, no, smarty pants, because you might be in a hotel room,” said Kevin.
“OK, you win,” Robert said, flicking through more of Kevin’s vocabulary book. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think words aren’t so bad after all.”

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