June 19, 2010
As an author writing for teens, dialogue always poses a question ‘Where does real teen speak end and fiction dialogue begin?’ The problem with giving characters the language that is used today is:
a) it quickly dates the book
b) teen idiom changes across the nation, across the globe and even across suburbs. Hooking up, for instance, can mean one thing for one group of teens but can have a different nuance with another group of teens.
I was talking to another author about this the other day.
Basically, she said unless the author can get the teen speak spot on, dialogue written in teen speak can add a barrier to the acceptance or reading pleasure of the reader, who may find the language used inappropriately.
It’s a balancing act of not having teens sound like university intellectuals and being able to get your story across without confusion or losing face with the intended target market.
At the moment, sick is no longer used, random is still in, so is hooking up, skank, try-hard, jun and station rat.
Jun was the most interesting word for me. There was hot debate over how this was spelled.
Apparently bogans are on top of someone in the social ladder — who would have thought?