Creating a Children’s Chapter Book 14: I Am Learning a Lot About Punctuation

The last time I learnt any grammar was when I was about 15. I am sure I have forgotten a lot, but I’m also sure that there are things I’ve never known. Like how to punctuate dialogue. This week, I had a little exchange with two of my FAB Friends regarding the following line in FAB Club:

“Ssssshhhh! Don’t tell them that, or they’ll want some. Can you keep a secret?” Asked Jake.

My friend, John, suggested, “You’ve capitalised the A of Asked and I think it should be lower case.”

I wasn’t sure (I had actually changed the sentence for clarity after it had been edited) and put the question to my friend, Jane, who is also much better with grammar than me. She replied,

“The A should not be capitalised because the question mark relates to the reported speech and is contained within the speech marks. It’s non-terminal punctuation rather than terminal so the question mark is not followed by a capital.”

Jane also pointed out that I had a possum run out in front of the bus, but the bus collected a corner shop A-board. I had written the first draft with an English audience in mind and had drawn a squirrel, but you don’t find them in Australia and NZ, so I had changed it to a possum. Australia and New Zealand (and the US) have possums, but they have dairies rather than corner shops. Oops.

A bus swerves to avoid a possum

Some of my friends are reading the book with kids in the sample age range (8-12). I’ve had some lovely feedback.

Comments from Jackson:

* The pictures are GREAT!

* I would like to keep reading the story because it’s interesting and the pictures make it appealing

* I like the characters. My favourite is the mini bully – Ivan. He’s funny. I also like Ruth and Jake. Jake is different to normal characters and doesn’t care what others think of him. I like Ruth because she is a tomboy and she likes bike riding and doing tricks.

And Ciadh’s first reaction was “as good as David Walliams”

I love this crowd edit. And my friends.

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About ahallatt

Cartoonist and writer. My first illustrated chapter book, FAB (Friends Against Bullying) Club, for kids 8-12 is out on Amazon. More at alexhallatt.com
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