MY THOUGHTS ON WRITING FICTIONAL SLANG FOR THE NOVEL
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Everybody is familiar with slang words right? Preferably for me the ones I remember from the 90s like “Whatever!” “, “As if!” (I loved Clueless growing up, so what! ) “TALK TO THE HAND” see what I did there. There are so many from the 90s that I just can’t write on this post but all those phrases and slangs from the 90s have all since faded away into oblivion and been replaced with new “modern” slang words I simply do not use like BAE, BASIC, BYE FELICIA, and the most cringe worthy ones I think in my opinion LIT , TEA, and THIRSTY. It’s just my opinion to say the least so don’t get mad if you are reading this post and you are from this most recent generation. But you see slang words have defiantly changed since 1995. The English language is apparently constantly evolving and the dictionary constantly rewritten as I type .
This leads me to discussing my thoughts on using fictional slang in writing the novel.
Well since writing my 2nd draft of my work in progress werewolf novel During the Blue Hour , I have been experimenting with fictional slang. And let me tell you it is a complicated tool to use in your novel . I have to be very careful you know as to not put ’90s slang’ in my novel.
You know how you can tell when a novel is written from back in the day or if the novelist is an older writer? ( no offense to older writers)
You can tell based on the slang or phrases the writers use. Its not a bad thing. I don’t think. But I don’t feel as writers we always have to be up to date on the current general slang. That’s what research is for but there can be slips up on how we use the vocabulary with our characters. And that could lead to an awkwardness to the new generation of readers, right?
Once again in my opinion , I feel not so much . Not all together true. I mean people continuously read Pride & Prejudice every day and do they feel an awkwardness to the vocabulary? No . Of course not.
I think writing fictional slang shouldn’t pigeon hole us as writers. Through my experimentation with writing fictional slang I don’t feel there is a right or wrong way. Especially when you are like me writing a futuristic fantasy sci-fi. And that is for almost all scifi fantasy writers .
I mean you got them saying a new term ,“scway “ on the tv show , THE FLASH. So what does that tell you as writers we can invent new words and phrase.
Some writers that did it well were Anthony Burgess, Irvine Walsh and J. R. R. Tolkien to name a few. Especially J. R. R. Tolkien who is famous for making up whole languages.
But as a fictional writer you don’t have to be a linguist to make up slang and new words. Just experiment.
Some of the slang in my work in progress lexicon is :
- Piper(is someone who tells secrets or snitches
- Polar(beyond cool)
- Sixty(dated, old, lame)
- Songlet(amateur, small
- SandChaser(somebody who ruins the mood, low ranking member of society )
WEREWOLF YEARLING SLANG
- maw-ge (bad, or angry)
- kanee(a smartass)
- Elaphus- ass ., goof
- Lam(playful, smart, laidback)
- Flek(change moods , chameleon)
- Sim(chill, cool, laidback)
- mux(wimp, crybaby)
And there is more. But I have to do double the slang because that is just some of the mortal slang and werewolf slang .
I’m still experimenting though but I ‘m going back and forth on the different slang .
But this is what I try to do:
- Have different characters use differing levels of slang.
- I try to have a reason for each term.
- I use slang to indicate a particular context.
- I use exposition in small doses.
- I use a few words, but use them in many situations, so the readers can remember them.
I’m one of those writers that writes while making no apologies to the reader.I’m not going to hold the reader’s hand either as I introduce new words. I’ll definitely try and grow most of the slang from real-world words and through research to creating words like a linguist does. But only to a certain extent will I attempt to naturally explain their meaning as the story progresses.
If you liked this blog post and you want to see more content involving my work in progress During the Blue Hour Follow , Like , share . But first LET’S START A DIALOGUE
WHAT SLANG WORDS DO YOU USE IN YOUR NOVEL?
I want to know so let me know in the comments below.
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