Debra flashes back to an old Brady Bunch episode while contemplating 'child speak' in her story.
"Baby talk, baby talk, it's a wonder you can walk." If you're familiar with the Brady Bunch (I still watch with rapt attention if a rerun comes on.) you'll recognize the line which reduced Cindy to tears and led to a black eye for Peter when he stepped in to defend her.
The reason the phrase has been running through my mind is I've been working on the second round of edits for Family Secrets. The hero of the story, Chase, has twin four-year-olds who figure prominently in the story, so there's a fair amount of 'speaking parts' for the girls. When I wrote the first draft, I used what I thought of as authentic phrasing for the kids. I have grammatical errors, issues with tense, dropped syllables, and mispronunciations. However, during edits, it was requested the dialogue be written correctly, letting the reader to imagine the 'kid speak' for herself.
I was asked to do something similar in This Feels Like Home, but it was only a line or two of dialogue, and I thought it was a personal preference of the editor (not my usual one) I was working with. I've since learned the request came from the senior editors of the lines, and is the recommended 'policy' at TWRP now. Which makes sense, so that all of the lines will be consistent.
At first I was a bit bummed about this. I thought the accurate dialogue added a bit of charm to the story, plus helped distinguish one twin from another, as each made particular errors. However, after a read-through last night, I realized the girls were still cute and charming, and it was actually easier to stay in the flow of the story without the distraction of having to figure out what was supposed to be said. (This is why editors are so valuable and good ones' advice should always be heeded.)
I don't know if I'll ever have another story with kids in it, but if I do, I'm just going to write their conversations 'normally', and go from there.
Until next time,
P.S. The second round of edits has been turned in for Family Secrets and will now head to the copy editing department. Yay!