Use Slang Sparingly

This is not necessarily only good advice for writer’s writing for children. I think it is true for what ever books you are writing.

What we need to remember is the dialogue is not real conversation but has to create the illusion of a real conversation. Slang words and catch phrases can date a book and go out of fashion very quickly so it is best to avoid them. Remember you want you children’s characters to sound like children and not an adult pretending to be a child.


Consider your character’s patterns of speech rather than particular words. For example, an impatient character would use short sentences and not waste words whereas a dreamer might ramble on without care. Much like some of my blog posts.

So be careful with slang. It dates dialogue.

“It is best to get the flavour and texture of what you want to say without having to patronise or, worse still, getting it wrong.” Andrew Melrose

The idea is to keep dialogue short and concise. There is no room for lengthy descriptions in dialogue. The other characters would get bored and wander off. You should be able to sum it up in a few words.


If you do want to use speech to convey important information it is better to begin the section of dialogue with the information or end with it. If you bury it in the middle of the dialogue it could get missed.

And avoid ellipses… unless absolutely necessary for effect. Don’t litter the page with dots.

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