Friday, May 15, 2009

You Let the Breeezy Take the Whip to Cali?

Yep. I said, "You let the Breezy take the whip to Cali?"

Do you have no clue as to what I'm saying? Neither did I until I started a training class on Monday. In case my previous post didn't give it away- I work for a bank. We aren't allowed to use bank jargon with customers. It's like speaking a foreign language.

And the same thing applies to our readers.

References: If you are writing a young adult novel (which I am) don't you dare mention Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, or Elizabeth Taylor. Yes- they may be readily identifiable to you, but not so much to your teenage reader. Try Megan Fox, Vanessa Hudgens, or Rihanna instead.

Slang: One of the other supervisors says the best phrases. I've decided to follow him around and write down everything he says to use for one of my characters. He proudly declares himself a redneck and that is exactly what I want. So he says things like, "Happier than a frog in rain" or "Hammered dung". Something totally appropriate to that specific character. But I wouldn't have my MC say "swell" or "shucks" because it's not the language her age group speaks.

Oh, and "You let the Breezy take the whip to Cali?" means "You let your girlfriend take the car to California?" Yeah- I've got a lot of learning to do on what's hip.


Cindy said...

Lol, who's Megan Fox? Good point about writing what fits your genre. I am glad I am not writing YA fiction :)

Anna Claire said...

Yikes, I've done that! In my first YA book I referred to someone's hair "reaching Diana Ross-like proportions" and later thought...ok nobody under 20 is going to know who that is. Sigh. I'm 26 and already out of the loop.

Tess said...

That's the very reason I like to write historical -- it's easier!

Wendy said...

Hey, I wrote about frogs today. :D

This was a good post. It's so important to know what your characters are paying attention to and I bet if you asked a fourteen-year-old who Bette M. is they wouldn't even know.
Happy Friday,

T. Anne said...

A starting a YA this summer. I'm reading all I can to bone up for the process.

Danyelle said...


Professional-speak can be so fun to try to figure out. You're absolutely right about the content needing to being able to connect to the target audience, or vice versa. :D

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Finer than frogs hair. Cuter than socks on a rooster.

Heard those from a redneck. Though they might be out of date now. lol.

Kimberly said...

These are great! Good advice for a writer to tag along after someone who speaks in ways we need to know for our writing. Now if only we could follow some teenagers without them knowing it!

Sarah Jensen said...

My MC started off sounding like a 36 yo woman, now she's so totally 17! Makes a huge diff. So yeah, bone up on the talk. It helps me that I'm around teens a lot. Maybe helps just as much that I act like one more than half the time.