The Order of Words When Writing Speech

I read a few books to the kids each night at bed time, and it’s brilliant. But one of the things I’ve noticed is that children’s writers have a habit of switching words around and adding them when writing, I guess mimicking the fun of Dr Seuss and the way the words can make a good children’s story, one that you’ll read hundreds of times, feel good each time.

I love reading The Gruffalo in Scots - it’s a fun read. I’ll read it forever.

But there’s one book - a fucking Frozen book - that is written oddly; it has the “[name] said” switched.

Basically, let’s say the sentence is
“Oh wow” said Elsa, “Olaf’s got huge balls!”
the book has it written as
“Oh wow” Elsa said, “Olaf’s got huge balls!”

Which is right? The first feels right as I say it out loud… so I switch it.

Anyone know?



Get off the fence.

This book sounds a bit rude for children

Maybe the fence is the best place to be sometimes

*Maybe sometimes the fence is the best place to be


Tell that to the individual pickets.

*Sometimes, the fence might be the best place to be


Don’t take a fence

either way is fine, I think?

My favourite book to read is the Sneetches. He only sits still for about a third of it and then he’s off to go and boogie with one of his teddies or headbutt the potty or whatever else he does when he’s avoiding bedtime, but I love it and read to the end anyway.


Either is fine

‘said Elsa’ is more common, hence less ‘visible’ - you just see who said what and get straight to the interesting bits. ‘Elsa said’ might be thrown in for a bit of variety, or to make it extra clear who’s saying what in a kids’ book.

The ‘said Elsa’ construction is weird though - Hello, said Elsa sounds like the words are saying the person (subject-verb-object). Maybe it’s a passive underneath, Hello, (was) said (by) Elsa. Shit maybe the verb can reverse its arguments aaaaah

I should, but don’t, know the answer to this: does the tense affect this? I ask because I write (and read) a lot of interview features, which tend to be in the present tense and use that same construction (or switch between them willy-nilly)


“Our new album is fucking toilet,” says Generic Emo Musician #3. “But obviously we have to pretend otherwise.”

He grins, and lights another cigarette.

“We just really like money,” he explains.

I’m enjoying this interview. Will happily read more.


I shouldn’t be so surprised at his candour. From the title of the album’s lead-off single, ‘Please Please Please (The Radio 1 Playlist Song)’, to new drummer Generic Emo Musician #5.3 selling his entire wardrobe on eBay (“boxer briefs worn while recording new album - unwashed”), the hints were always there.

“It’s not just about the money,” he insists. “We honestly believe this is the worst album we could get away with making while still selling enough copies to maintain the car payments we’re all making in order to project the image of success to our enormously embarrassed families.”

Another cigarette. “That’s artistry,” he says, with an unconvincing smile. “That’s proper art.”


This is like the Manual by the KLF, but rebooted.


no your grandma is my strong suit

The Sneetches was one of my favourites as a kid.