Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I know, right?

Have you heard the phrase? Less than a thousand times? "I know, right?" I thought it was so cute when I heard it. So fresh and fun!

I admit to using it, but I still say, "totally" from 1987 so I'm not the best example. But, then?  I put it in my New Adult manuscript.

There were other phrases I found to be totes adorbs!  Hm, there's another totally adorable one. I'll put it in my manuscript.

There are some others...
Biffles = BFFL = Best Friends for Life; Often used with "totes," as in "We're totes biffles."
Own that = Take responsibility for
Obvi/Obvs = Obviously
Jelly = Jealous
cray-cray = crazy

Some need no explanation:
Awesome sauce

Really? REALLY?

I have a dear friend who is not capable of agreeing with me unless she says, "I know, right?" I wonder how we ever conversated prior to 2013. I totally lurve her anyway.

But, do these words belong in a manuscript?  I thought they did when I began writing the first book in my Southern Brothers series. The New Adult genre is all about transitions and firsts. I researched slang that people in their early twenties would use so my manuscript would be fresh!

That was 2 years ago.

Needless to say, what was "fresh" in 2013 is not now. I've had to go back and remove the majority of the slang. I actually have one character who says several of these things, but it's a bit of a joke that he's out of date or not being himself (no worries, he's a baller in a later book).

I learned that it's important to know how long it will take to publish something. And to write words that will be universal. I think you could use "own it" and be okay. Most of the other ones? They didn't work for me. I didn't think an audience would find them appealing over time. And that's important because you also hope your book will have a few lives. You don't want eliminate a potential second or third life because you've dated the dialogue.

You don't want to be disco in 1985, all sideburns and bell bottoms facing Jordache jeans and neon shirts.  You don't want to be a 10 pound, 10 megabyte hard disc for $4000 in times of a 64 gigabyte USB flash drive the size of a pinky for $25. Frankie says, "RELAX!" for a reason, people.

With slang, as with any dialogue, you must write with purpose. Words must be deliberate. You can choose to have slang, but always do it with intent. With the knowledge of what it will do to your book. Another lesson learned.

Are there any of these types of slang words that you like? Any that drive you crazy? What do you think about it when it comes to a book? I'd totes love to hear your thoughts!


Carla Swafford said...

A buddy of mine at the day job says often, "I'm not mad," when it comes to something unpleasant. I've picked it up. Just as I picked up "cool beans" from a friend of my daughter's years ago.

But you're right about books. If you want your book to stay relevant, don't use slang unless it's one that has hung around for years - coooool!

And avoid dates if you can. A lot of authors will use "Present Day" or "Ten Year Ago."

A dead giveaway that a book was written 10 years ago is when the person "dials" instead of "punches" a number and when they flip open their phone.

Of course, some things you can't avoid.

Meda White said...

LOL- I totally needed the key to interpret some of those phrases. I've been lost since 2013. :D

I'm sure I have some dated slang still rolling of my tongue at times. Right on.

Ali Hubbard said...

Carla - I do the same thing, picking up phrases from people around me. It's hard not to! I like the "I'm not mad." I haven't heard that. lol.

I read on book than titled the chapters "Then" and "Now." It was clear what was happening.

But, yes, you can't avoid it all. And who knows what technology will come along and make something completely obsolete!

Meda - I'm right there with you. The Urban Dictionary has been my friend!

I have a friend I still call "Cool Breeze." I think that's probably very 1978. lolol.

Aidee Ladnier said...

I remember when South Park first went on the air and hearing "my bad" for the first time and thinking that it sounded weird and ungrammatical. But now, I never even blink an eye. Popular language is strange, just sayin'. ;)

Ali Hubbard said...

Aidee - it's always interesting to see what words stay as part of our language and which ones fade. lol. "Groovy" made a little comeback a few years ago, but seems to be gone again. I love words so much that it's all very interesting to me. I get excited about new phrases or slang. I don't kid myself into thinking I could actually USE some of them well. lololol

Cari Hislop said...

After 17.5 years in England most American slang younger than my departure is like Greek to me. I don't know the cultural references. I often don't understand what is even meant. For instance the slogans on your Star Wars image where Darth says...I am trote ...something your father... I'm completely clueless!

If one needs to use slang why not create slang for one's story world? Using fictional slang, one could avoid being dated and get creative using long known slang trends.

Ali Hubbard said...

Cari - I'm right there with you! I'm clueless most of the time.

I like this fictional slang idea. I've never thought of that. But, now that you mention it, I can think of an example. JD Robb uses "ice" for "great" and has some other ones as well in her Death series. Never really dawned on me until now because they are placed well in the story...I know exactly what she means even though they are completely made up.

Something to consider! Thank you so much for stopping by :-)))) You know we love to see you.