Sunday, September 28, 2008

Schoolyard dialogue

I've been reading books and manuscript with schoolyard settings and I'm interested to note that so much of these books are driven by dialogue, more so than other YA books. I'm wondering whether historical fiction has more explanatory background - and less dialogue?


BLC said...

As someone who works in schools, schoolyeard dialogue is the main driver of communicative strategies employed by the group of readers authors try to engage into their books.

Historical fiction is much better suited at the advanced and or older reader.

Without significant and personal interaction and understanding of protagonists, many reluctant or spre time challenged children will just not bother ploughing through the descriptive passages.

They want face paced and puchy story lines and characters who use language they can directly relate to.

Historical fiction needs the extra explanatory description and time spent on establishing setting, time and "mindset" of the characters..........but dialogue is needed. But perhaps it is less obtrusive in this contaxt, and not as initially easily visible??

BLC said...

Historical fiction requires more explanatory passages and descriptive workings due to the nature of the very genre.

Readers today who are not advanced or mature enough to wade through this type of writing will not finish the task of reading the novel.

Schoolyard dialogue is the main driver of childrens novels as it is relevant, understood and brings legitimacy to the task of reading - for some students.

For the struggling reader, the reluctant reader or the not-so-interested reader, it is the current "wordspeak" that will entice them into the book.

Too much explanation bogs these readers down, they loose interest, and quite often dont like it all being spelt out, ot there is not a lot to think about when reflecting on the book.......

Perhaps the dialogue in historical fiction is less prominent, as it serves a different role to the book as a whole.

Andrew's black dog blog said...

Thanks. I think that's really interesting. Science fiction and fantasy also need to carry lots of explanatory passages (think of the length of a Harry Potter). I'm surprised that school fiction isn't more popular. Daniel (12) who's reading I'm really familiar with hates being delayed by any extra explanatory description.

BLC said...

YES!!!!! My childrfen and almost all of those I teach are the same. It's reading for speed, its the pace they live at, the pace of schools today is STUPIDLY fast, there is no time for reflection.......almost

And think about the shows they watch on TV, and the games they play - all pacey and driven.

They are growing up in a very TIME POOR day and age.........

I'ts a shame the market is not flooded with well written books in this format, with well crafted ideas, not just the aussie chomps style formats for really reluctant readers. It could actually bring books back to the kids.............

"Do ya reckon?"
"Nah, sounds lame."
"I think it sounds SICK."
"Reading is for loosers...."
"I think you are WRONG!!! Reading could be HECTIC!!"

job said...

You know what? Young readers are often more engaged by dialogue. Historical surroundings can be seen at a glance when an accomplished illustrator is invloved. The need for expansive text then evaporates. There is nothing more exciting than dipping into an unknown world at any age. Once hooked, young children come back for more. I say let's do what it takes to hook the emerging reader into reading in every style and genre - including historical fiction.
Just because it isn't done yet, doesn't mean it can't be done - with effort, imagination and controlled structure.