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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Making it Sound Right

One of my challenges in the effort to write YA (written specifically for Young Adults) is the dialogue. It won't do for my seventeen-year-old character to speak as I do, nor for her to speak the way I did when I was seventeen MANY decades ago. She needs to speak like today's high school seniors. I've struggled with that. But I think I'm making progress.

Below is a conversation between my Main Character, Maggie, and her friend, Julia. See if you think they sound like seniors to you: 

“Do you have anything to eat around here?” she asked, so I made another veggie panino. For a girl so obsessed with what everybody else weighs, tall, lean Julia can really pack away the food. She finished the first one and asked for a second.

While she ate, she filled me in on where the parties were planned for this evening. “Of course,” she said, arching an eyebrow, “we could always invite people here.”

“Oh no. Not again.” I shook my head as I backed away from her. “I thought I’d never get this place back to normal when you pulled that on me last time.”

“You’re more of a party animal than you let on.” Julia nodded sagely. “Things were really just getting started when we had to shut it down—”

“Get real, girl. There were probably sixty people here. In this little space! And more were coming every minute.”

“Not my fault.” Julia swallowed a bite of zucchini. “I only texted three fun couples—plus Tyler Watts for me and Tyler King for you.”

“And look how that turned out. Tyler Watts never showed and Tyler King brought his own date—some chick from Chico High. And whose idea was it to bring a keg?”

She giggled. “I don’t know, but it would have made the party. I’m just glad the guys got it out of here before the cops showed up. Did you ever figure out who called them?”
            “I really couldn’t guess,” I said, looking away. Best if she never figured out that I got desperate, texted my brother and asked him to play the role of the disgusted neighbor. He gave me three minutes and then called the cops in to clear everybody out of Aunt Betty’s place before I got her business shut down for sponsoring under-aged drinking or some such weirdness.

Susan Aylworth is the author of eight traditionally published novels. Her ninth, A SECRET FAMILY RECIPE, will be available from Covenant Communications in June. Her first eight novels are all available now for e-readers. She loves to hear from readers and other writers. Contact her here or at, on Facebook or @SusanAylworth.