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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2019, 04:30 
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I'm sympathetic towards writing baby talk because it's so hard to do well. EBD's main problem seemed to be targeting it to the right age. My friends' two year old is in the stage where she's talking like it's language (it sounds like complete sentences), but not all of it is actual words, and it's hard to understand the bits that are - that's hard to pull off in text. But by age four, a kid's in junior kindergarten and talking normally, albeit with some odd pronunciations occasionally.

Summer Term is definitely the most prosaically bonkers. I mean, the international gang plot line of Redheads is pretty off the wall, as is the kidnapping by Ruritarian royalty in Princess, but they're inherently wild storylines. You expect some improbability! The Maynards casually adopting one child who approaches them on the street claiming to be their ward, and another who they literally find on a train (who turns out to be the descendent of a noble scion and a beautiful but poor ballerina), is something else again.

In examples of other authors straining for plots we have the EJO book where Joan's mother's estranged sister's stepson's girlfriend's second cousin shows up at the Abbey to ask for help pursuing her acting career. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2019, 07:19 
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I don't understand why EBD made it so complicated :lol: . We're told right at the start of the series that the Bettanys' aunts have large families ... who are never mentioned again. Why not say that one of the cousins had died suddenly and (perhaps because they were the same age and had been close as children) named Joey as her child's guardian, but that they'd lost touch over the years? It'd have been a lot more plausible.

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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2019, 10:31 
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Llywela wrote:
One of the worst written scenes for me is Erica randomly spotting Joey in the street, immediately recognising this woman she had never seen before, and running over to announce that she'd been left to Joey's care by a girl she was at school with very briefly many years earlier, wasn't particular friends with, and hadn't kept in touch with. :dontknow:


Not somebody Joey was at school with, but 'Dacia-Denise' met Jo in India - the story that never saw the light of day.

The girl who named her daughter after Jo and wanted her to be an unofficial god-daughter didn't even go to the same school - Maisie Goome was at St Scholastica's, not the Chalet School. How well would she have known Jo - except after Jo ended up in the lake after trying to rescue the skaters and was taken to the other school? And she was unconscious for most of that time.


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2019, 11:17 
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What surprises me about the scene where Erica spots Jo is that Jo is on her own in London - surely all the Chalet girls in the area would be escorting her? And how is she so familiar with the capital that she knows a place for tea and famous scones?


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2019, 12:28 
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Maybe she wanted a bit of peace and quiet for once, and had asked the hotel receptionist or someone at her publishers to recommend somewhere nice. She thought she'd just have a little bit of me time, away from kids, dogs, cats, budgies, the School, the San … and then some kid launched herself at her in the street and informed her that she was her new ward. Poor Joey :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2019, 23:40 
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To be fair, some 4-year-olds do talk like those in EBD's books - my elder grandson did. It was weird - his vocabulary and concepts expanded to the norms for his age, but his actual speech didn't. He had speech therapy for a term or two, and is fine now, though. But his brother, at 6, still says "berry" for "very", although I think it's his only mispronunciation!


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 10:01 
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Mrs Redboots wrote:
To be fair, some 4-year-olds do talk like those in EBD's books - my elder grandson did.
Yes - and it can even be endearing in real life. But a little of it goes a very long way on the printed page, and it's also a long way from young Rix's use of 've' for 'the' to Geoff in Two Sams saying 'dam tartth' and 'you's a yude girl'.


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 14:29 
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When it comes down to it, child-speak, accents and dialects are hard to write, harder to read and rarely satisfactory.


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 16:31 
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I wish people wouldn't try to write accents and dialects, unless it's just the odd word. Sometimes they get it completely wrong - I read a book (by a non-British author) in which someone from Lancashire used West Country dialect all the way through! - and, even if they don't, it's very hard to read. Biddy's Oirish accent and Flora and Fiona's "pig sister" accent come across very badly, and some Victorian books are almost unreadable because of attempts at writing accents and dialects!

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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 13:54 
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Alison H wrote:
I wish people wouldn't try to write accents and dialects, unless it's just the odd word. Sometimes they get it completely wrong - I read a book (by a non-British author) in which someone from Lancashire used West Country dialect all the way through! - and, even if they don't, it's very hard to read. Biddy's Oirish accent and Flora and Fiona's "pig sister" accent come across very badly, and some Victorian books are almost unreadable because of attempts at writing accents and dialects!


It always beats me how Biddy's Oirish accent remained so strong! Wasn't she only about 6 years old when the CS took her on? When my family moved to London when I was 9 years old, I had a marked Geordie accent. Despite my best efforts to hang onto it, it gradually faded over the years.

When I moved back to the northeast in my late twenties, I felt like a stateless person. People in the north kept asking me where I came from because I didn't sound Geordie, but when I went back to the south those who didn't know me also asked where I came from because I didn't sound like a Londoner!


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 14:59 
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My mother's Kerry accent stayed with her till she died at the age of 94, as did my father's Geordie accent. Perhaps that was due to them each having seven or eight brothers and sisters, whom we all saw frequently, some still living either in Kerry or Newcastle, and so they fell back immediately into their own accents, thus retaining them forever. I can't think of any other reason for it.

The trouble for their three children was that, instead of picking up the Nottingham accent of our home town, we grew up speaking with no accent at all, thanks to the two very different ones we heard at home. And so, in my own case, I ended up being bullied at grammar school for talking *posh*

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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 20:02 
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Annied wrote:
It always beats me how Biddy's Oirish accent remained so strong! Wasn't she only about 6 years old when the CS took her on? When my family moved to London when I was 9 years old, I had a marked Geordie accent. Despite my best efforts to hang onto it, it gradually faded over the years.

When I moved back to the northeast in my late twenties, I felt like a stateless person. People in the north kept asking me where I came from because I didn't sound Geordie, but when I went back to the south those who didn't know me also asked where I came from because I didn't sound like a Londoner!


I never understood how Biddy held her accent so long. She was under 10 when she was found, and she had no exposure to anyone with an Irish accent after that. The village school where she first went would have been German, the CS discouraged her Irish, and she never even visits Ireland or has any Irish friends or family. At the age when she left “county Kerry” she would likely have picked up the speech patterns of the people to whom she was most exposed.

I can appreciate that she was a gifted story teller, and she obviously had a lot of exposure to tales from the Irish, but again, the accent would have faded over time without some support.


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 03:36 
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Nyota wrote:
Annied wrote:
It always beats me how Biddy's Oirish accent remained so strong! Wasn't she only about 6 years old when the CS took her on? When my family moved to London when I was 9 years old, I had a marked Geordie accent. Despite my best efforts to hang onto it, it gradually faded over the years.

When I moved back to the northeast in my late twenties, I felt like a stateless person. People in the north kept asking me where I came from because I didn't sound Geordie, but when I went back to the south those who didn't know me also asked where I came from because I didn't sound like a Londoner!


I never understood how Biddy held her accent so long. She was under 10 when she was found, and she had no exposure to anyone with an Irish accent after that. The village school where she first went would have been German, the CS discouraged her Irish, and she never even visits Ireland or has any Irish friends or family. At the age when she left “county Kerry” she would likely have picked up the speech patterns of the people to whom she was most exposed.

I can appreciate that she was a gifted story teller, and she obviously had a lot of exposure to tales from the Irish, but again, the accent would have faded over time without some support.


It also depends a lot of the person and how much they also want to hold onto their accent. My Father migrated to Australia at 19 and in his words became an Australian straight away and refused to join any Irish groups etc. His brother came out to Australia and held much more onto his background, so still has an Irish accent to this day.
I can see Biddy holding onto her Irish accent over the years as it was a link to her Mother and probably the only one she had

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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2019, 21:53 
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My High School ruthlessly squashed any speaking in a Nottinghamshire accent. That's why the real locals in Cambridgeshire where I live really can't understand me because I don't use the local accent and pronunciation.

I must add that I don't always understand them, especially when they use local words for something.

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A certain edge when she spoke of Mrs Maynard, certainly, but, after all, not everyone could love Joey.
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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2019, 14:43 
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Having just flicked through the CS and the Lintons because the thread on Special Sixth has been active, I'm finding it hard to take in that Joey hadn't noticed that Madge was 7 months pregnant!


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2019, 15:29 
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Though maybe Madge was one of those people who never look very pregnant?


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 26 Oct 2019, 18:55 
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Sybil was premature, and I don't think Jo had seen Madge for a few weeks beforehand, but you'd still think that, at 16, she'd have noticed!

I've been re-reading New House. I love the scenes in which Jem and Margot are reunited, but would it not have been more realistic to say that Margot had gone to Jem's last known UK address first, and a neighbour had told her that he'd moved to Tyrol? She's supposed to have seen Jem and Madge's engagement announcement or wedding notice, mentioning the Chalet School (and why would it have mentioned the Chalet School anyway?!) in a copy of the Times , which someone happened to have left lying about. Why would someone be wandering around Brisbane with a copy of a British newspaper?! And, of all the days, it just happened to be the one with the announcement in it!

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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 27 Oct 2019, 00:34 
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The scene in Gay where Daisy describes the accident to Josette. It’s callous and heavily editorialized. Poor Sybil never manages to be appreciated, and this scene, reported third hand is really the harshest that EBD wrote.


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2019, 22:18 
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There's a completely bonkers but in JO RETURNS. The context is a shortage of staff. There is this paragraph (P. 131 in my Armada edition)


Frieda Mensch came up from Innsbruck to spend a few days and she was promptly pressed into service by the staff, taking French and German among the juniors, who were thrilled at being taught by Frieda. Unfortunately, she had only been there four days when Frau Mensch wrote to beg her to come home. Frau Mensch's sister had slipped on the stairs and sprained her ankle badly. So Frieda had to pack up and return to Innsbruck, which she did with a good deal of reluctance.


So, assuming this isn't just the result of some crazy Armada edit, a major character returns to the school only to be written back out in the very next line having had no dialogue and/or indication of her life since we last saw her. What is this paragraph for? What I its aesthetic function or value? Obviously it would be wrong to judge the books by modern plot-driven standards of narrative, since the books are full of (what we would now think of as) missed opportunities to make the material more emotional and/or dramatic, but this is exceptional even by CS standards. Did EBD ever redraft, do you think, or is everything left as she first spilled it all out?


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 Post subject: Re: Worst written scenes in the CS?
PostPosted: 11 Dec 2019, 16:00 
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I remember being puzzled by that scene Miles, but my main concern was why Frieda had to return when she was so clearly needed and valued at the school. Surely Herr and Frau Mensch and their faithful retainers could have coped as there were no others living in the apartment at that time. No wonder the girls married young!


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