Dialogue is one of the best ways to connect with readers and one of the quickest ways to lose them. Your readers know a fake kid when they listen to one––so your dialogue not only carries plot and characterization burdens, it needs to be real. Let’s look at some tips for “realifying” your dialogue.

Eavesdrop on kids. Libraries are great places to do this because no matter how often they’re shushed, when kids gather, they talk. You can often grab a chair or table near a gathering spot and simply take dictation. Then, when you’re at home, you can analyze what things make kid-speak unique.

Catch Kid TV. Yes, it hurts and it can be didactic and goofy, but bad kid tv will teach you almost as much as good kid tv. You’ll learn to identify young characters who are slipping into overly mature speeches and preaching to the audience––and then you can avoid it in your own characters. Not all kid-speak on tv is good––a lot of it is horrible. Spend time listening and you can begin to identify good and bad.

For more tips and to find out how to test your childlike writing voice, click the download button and listen to the full episode!

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