Monday, October 21, 2013

Guest Post: Learning the Lingo

Hi my wonderful blogging-buddies!  I have a publishing-mate from MuseItUp Publishing guesting on my blog today with a funny take on writing dialog for kids.  Without further ado, here's Heather Fraser Brainerd!


 

Learning the Lingo

By Heather Fraser Brainerd

“Dude!” I said to my son.  “Chillax!”

“Mom, no one says ‘chillax’ anymore.”

I have three boys in the tween-to-teen age range.  While writing my Young Adult paranormal mystery, Dream Shade, I relied on them to be my vocab coaches.  Problem is, teen lingo changes at a crazy fast rate.  This meant that my manuscript’s slang had to be revised.  A lot.

“That is so epic!”’ became “That’s beast!” which morphed into “He’s got swag!” which then changed to “YOLO.”  (I just learned what that last one means.)

In the end, I cut almost all references to teen slang, hoping that the classics like “cool” would carry me through.

But while I’ve got you here, why not check out my book?  Because, you know, YOLO.


Blurb:
As if high school wasn't tough enough, sophomore Sarah Pasmore has one extra little problem: ghosts have started appearing to Sarah and they seem to want something from her.  With help from her brainy best friend, as well as a few new friends (including the hottest guy in school), Sarah must solve the mystery of what the spirits want in order to put them back to rest.  To complicate matters further, a more evil spirit will go to great lengths to make sure this doesn’t happen.  As they investigate the past to unravel this supernatural mystery, the teens learn a lesson in the powers of friendship and love.

Release date 10/25/13. Pre-order link:
http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/coming-soon/october-2013/october-25/dream-shade-detail


Connect with Heather:


Leave a comment below for your chance to win the e-book Dream Shade!


73 comments:

Heather Holden said...

Wow, I'm so out of the loop when it comes to slang. I agree, if in doubt, just go with "cool"! (Or even create your own slang...)

Lynda R Young said...

erm, I have no idea what yolo is, hahahahaha!
But yes, teen slang changes far too quickly to use, especially since publishing is so slow!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Slang would be nearly impossible to keep up with. I think leaving most of it out was a good idea.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Not sure what YOLO means. I'll have to ask my daughter. Agree with everyone that we have to be careful how much we use.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I teach fifth grade and I have daughters, 13 & 16, so I do have a feel for it. Sometimes the daughter complain about the lingo my characters use, but I still hear my 10 year old students talk that way. Chillax is out, but they still say chill. And cool, awesome, gross. They say "Ya think?" and "Really?" and "Dude!" A little goes a long way, though!

Heather Brainerd said...

Yes, Heather, creating your own slang is fun! My brother (and sometimes-co-author) is great at that.

Heather Brainerd said...

You Only Live Once. Like I said, I just learned that one, and it's probably out by now! :)

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks, Alex. I started the manuscript with slang sprinkled here and there, but found that I had no choice but to cut most of it.

Heather Brainerd said...

You've got that right, Natalie! YOLO is "you only live once," but in the short time since I wrote this post, I've heard it morph from "YOLO" to "YOLO swag" to "hashtag YOLO swag." They actually say the "hashtag" part out loud. :)

Heather Brainerd said...

Yes Dianne, a little certainly does go a long way! My sister taught fifth grade (she's taking time off to spend with her kids, and will go back to teaching next year, but in Kindergarten) so she's another great resource.

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Lexa! I'm having a great time here!

SA Larsenッ said...

This actually sounds sweet. I love the part about the MC learning about friendship. Nice to meet you, Heather!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thank you! I like to keep things positive. And it's nice to meet you, too!

L.G. Smith said...

Dat was da bomb! Ha! Yeah, no one says that anymore do they? But, yes, great point about trendy language. It can have a very short shelf-life. Congrats on the novel, too!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks! Short shelf life... true dat! :-)

Crystal Collier said...

Super cool. ;) I hear you about chopping the slang. You don't want to date your work, and at the same time, you want to be authentic. The book sounds awesome!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks, Crystal! Yes, a lot of slang got chopped. I was sad to see some of it go, others were just a relief!

Cecilia Robert said...

A while back, I told my son "Chillax" and he just blinked at me, then said, "Oh mum, we need to sit down and work on your slang." Nice to meet you, Heather! :)

Kelly Hashway said...

Just learned what YOLO means. :)

Kate Larkindale said...

Slang is so tricky. Not only does it change at lightning speed, different places, even within the same country, use different slang. It's impossible to keep up with. Not to mention, using it wrong can seriously date your book.

Sarah Negovetich said...

I'm with you in usually leaving it out of my books. It's usually dated between the time you write it and go to print. I think teens are more interested in a character that speaks to them than a character that speaks like them.

Heather Brainerd said...

Sounds familiar, Cecilia! :-) Nice to meet you, too!

Heather Brainerd said...

My kids are already sick of YOLO! I wonder what will be next...

Heather Brainerd said...

You are so right, Kate. Good thing "cool" will never go out of style. :)

Heather Brainerd said...

That's a great point, Sarah!

Julie Flanders said...

I think it must be so hard to write teenagers. I sometimes feel I am 105 when I hear them talking to each other because I'm so out of the loop on slang and everything else now LOL. This was a fun post! Great to meet you, Heather, and best of luck with your book.

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks, Julie! Yeah, I feel pretty old, too, sometimes... especially when my kids are talking to each other and I have no idea what they're talking about!

Stephen Hayes said...

I wouldn't presume to know what what young folks today are saying, much less how they say it. But this was a very interesting post and I enjoyed reading it.

Susan Bernhardt said...

Heather, I plan on writing a middle grade book. I'm so out of the loop with their language. Hope Sarah is right that the kids are more interested in a character that speaks to them than a character that speaks like them.. Great post!

Susan Bernhardt
The Ginseng Conspiracy coming in 1/14
www.susanbernhardt.com

Susan Bernhardt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather Brainerd said...

Why thank you, Stephen!

Christine Rains said...

Sometimes I think teens are speaking a foreign language! I just keep with cool too. :) Good luck!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks, Susan! Yes, I agree with Sarah. Although you do have to make teen characters' voices believable. MG is such a great age to write for (my brother and I are working on one). I think you'll like it!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thank you, Christine. Yes, sometimes I say to my kids, "I don't even know what language you're speaking!" Of course, they just laugh at me. :)

Nas said...

I was a teen way back...and I don't think I would be able to write a MG now to mesh with today's teens, and their lingo!

Congratulations and well done!

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats, Heather! And slang does change so quickly, and then there are some slang words that stay the same too (like "cool").

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Yep. Teens change faster than Texas weather. Love the cover of your book. Don't enter me because I've already won a copy. :) Lucky me. Looking forward to reading your book. Congratulations.

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks, Nas. If it wasn't for my boys and my nieces, I'd be at a lingo loss!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thank you, Cherie. Thank goodness there are some teen-acceptable words that have staying power!

Heather Brainerd said...

Hi Beverly! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind words. Hope you enjoy!

M Pax said...

You're ahead of me. I have no idea what YOLO means. I'm sure as soon as adults catch on, they have to change it again.

Heather Brainerd said...

It's "you only live once." And it's already starting to change, which proves your point. :-) Thanks for commenting!

Carol Kilgore said...

Great to meet you, Heather! So true about teen slang. Best to stay with classic.

Hi, Lexa!

mshatch said...

Ooh, this sounds like fun! I love a good ghost story :)

Heather Brainerd said...

Nice to meet you too, Carol! It's funny; I honestly didn't pay attention to how quickly slang mutated until I started writing this book.

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks! I like reading ghost stories, too. In fact, I recently did a ghost post on my blog. See the link above if you want to check it out!

Heather Brainerd said...

Hot off the presses, everyone: my son came home from school today and said he heard the term "swolo." Apparently, it's a combination of swag and YOLO. Yup, that teen slang sure does change fast!

T.F. Walsh said...

Probably a good idea in the end to remove most of the 'in' slang since it changes way too quick and avoids your book outdating... Loved reading your post, and before this post I had no idea what YOLO meant. :)

Heather Brainerd said...

It does change oh so quickly! Thanks for stopping by!

Cathy Keaton said...

LOL. This is really funny. I just go to urbandictionary.com to find out what the kids are talking about these days. Keeps me real.

DMS said...

What a great guest post! It is amazing how fast teen lingo changes I can see why Heather decided to take most of it out. The cover of Dream Shade looks awesome and the book sounds great. Wishing Heather the best of luck!
~Jess

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm pleased to meet Heather.

Teen lingo changes a lot and it's even different by region. Also, working from school to school in the same area, I've encountered different lingo.

Melanie said...

HAHA I'm a teenager and all the crazy lingo is well, crazy! It's #yoloswag here in Australia, lol.

Thanks for sharing! <33

Heather Brainerd said...

That's a good method, Cathy. I guess my kids keep me real!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks for your kind words, Jess!

Heather Brainerd said...

Nice to meet you too, Medeia! You're right about slang being very regional. Thanks for your comment!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks for your comment, Melanie. I'll have to tell my kids that #yoloswag is in Australia — they'll love it!

LD Masterson said...

Knowing how out of step I am on slang with my 12 - 15 year old grandkids, I wouldn't attempt to write in/for that age group. I'm a bit in awe of those who do. Best of luck on your release.

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks so much, LD!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Heather, I sympathize. The lingo changes too fast. Remember TOP SHELF? My sons used to say that all the time in the 80s. Can't imagine what my grandchildren's children will come up with. Well I'm at it, I must admit I have no idea what YOLO means. LOL.

Michelle Wallace said...

This is the first time I'm coming across YOLO... and I still use the word chillax... ooops!

Heather Brainerd said...

Thanks for stopping by, Joylene! Yes, it's fun to think of what future generations will be saying. I've dabbled in SciFi, and making up futuristic slang is part of the fun of that genre, at least for me!

Heather Brainerd said...

I've finally stopped saying chillax! :-)

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Lexa and Heather,
My son is good at telling me that 'nobody says that anymore', so like Heather, I try not to have too many slang references. They do date our work. Dream shade sounds like a good read.

Heather Brainerd said...

Thank you, J.L.! I'm very excited for Dream Shade's release this Friday!

klahanie said...

Hey Lexa and Heather,

Mid-life crisis, skateboarding hoodie living in England, here. This posting is well wicked. I is thinkin' you is well ace. Yeah, you is well sorted and it's not mingin in ere innit.

"Lingo"? Is dat like that game folks with blue hair playz n'stuff?

All the best with "Dream Shade."

Gary :)

Heather Brainerd said...

Ha! Thanks, Gary. (And I actually understood a little bit of that. Maybe from watching BBC America??)

klahanie said...

BBC America, probably so. In Britain you have to have a TV licence to watch the BBC. Heck, dis Chav aint even passed da test. Got a "Learners" sticker on da telly screen!

Shah Wharton said...

I'm no where near cool enough to write YA. I have no idea what YOLO means? I got all of Gary's references because I'm British though, and that is all over our TV drama. :) Best of luck with Dream Shade !

Shah

shahwharton.com

Heather Brainerd said...

Thank you, Shah! It's "you only live once" (and already seems to be losing some popularity around here!).

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

I agree that avoiding slang is probably the safest bet. Otherwise, it will sound dated in ten years. Now I feel old...I didn't know "chillax" was out and "beast" was in, either. The only reason I knew "chillax" in the first place is from "Despicable Me." The problem is that things are only cool when they're exclusive. Once it becomes mainstream, by definition it's worn its welcome.

Heather Brainerd said...

Good point, Nigel! (Um, by the way, "beast" is out already. Don't want you to use it and sound uncool! :-) )

Jocelyn Rish said...

Even 'cool' is problematic because do you spell it 'cool' or 'kewl'? :-) But, yeah, everything I've read says keep slang at a minimum, which is tough in a contemporary because slang is always prevalent in teen speak. People writing sci-fi, fantasy, etc are lucky because they can just make up their own that fits their world. :-)

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