Today in Year 5 Book Club, we looked at dialogue and how Roddy Doyle writes it, as we are reading A Greyhound of a Girl by the Irish author.
image courtesy of scholastic.co.uk
We thought about how Roddy Doyle writes dialogue in his book, and read interesting comments by him about how he writes:
‘I see people in terms of dialogue and I believe that people are their talk… It struck me that the way to make [characters] seem real was not to describe their physical appearances but to get them talking. Writing is words. My characters would be words too.’
This is very helpful advice when writing our own stories and dialogue. We thought about the different characters in A Greyhound of a Girl and how Doyle differentiates between them. For example, Scarlett, Mary’s mother, always talks in exclamation marks, as Mary notes. All her sentences end with them because she is trying to be positive at a sad time because grandma Emer is dying in hospital. One of our group, Ayako, made a very good observation that Scarlett doesn’t speak with exclamation marks when she visits her ill mother in hospital. We said that this was a clever way for Roddy Doyle to show how upset Scarlett is without having to spell it out for us.
Conversation then moved on to how illustrators distinguish between characters. Matt Groening, of The Simpsons, once said that he decided to make his characters yellow because, when people channel-hop between TV stations, they will spot the Simpsons a mile off. Each of them also has a unique head shape, making them easy to identify. If we can do the same with words, then we can create memorable characters.
We ended the session, bizarrely, with riddles! We had a go at answering riddles the group had learned in class and also looked at The Riddle That Killed Homer (the poet, not the yellow comic character!). It stumped us too but luckily we had the answer in the book! Can you answer this?
The Riddle That Killed Homer
All that we caught we threw away,
All that we didn’t catch we kept.