Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Don't Dumb Down

I'm in between writers groups and thought I best post while I have a moment.

Get a Voice-Lift - one of the articles in the February Writers' Digest - talked about voice from a teenager's POV. As I was reading it, and relishing it, I noted that the advice could well  be true for adult writing. Since I'm in the midst of a new Adult Sci-fi book, I thought I'd look at the dumb down piece of advice.

The author, Diana Lopez, states that I should NOT run from big words or bad language. Well, I love big words. I used to write a word a day on the 'frig so that my kids would learn new words and expand their universe. I know that I do have a tendency, when I'm writing this book, to 'hold back' on some of the big words. Big words doesn't necessarily mean many-syllabled words, but large in concept. Or words that are not used in the day to day of life. I've been told I should hold back on using big words, but this article permits me. I like that. I'll use them more. Judiciously, of course.

As for bad language. Wow. Now and again, I'm surprised by the number of 'bad' words that our movie stars use in their day to day lives. I'm not offended, but I wish they'd expand their vocabulary a bit. Their are some truly effective bad words. Not the ordinary kind.

But - since 'The Other Side' is an adult book and the men in it are normal men, the language is ribald. I just can't bring myself to have them say the 'F' word, though. Something in my upbringing. (Not that I've not been known to use the bloody thing now and again, but to write it out seems odd.) Perhaps, later in the book, as the shit-hits-the-fan, I'll be forced by my characters to use it. Right now, I'm not letting them bully me.

We'll see what happens.

I am in awe of young adult writers. My stuff is set in 'older' times so I don't have to worry about slang and idioms and such. The author of this article suggests it's best to 'make up' slang. That way, it doesn't become dated.

I have to giggle because I make up slang and swear words in my MG fantasy because this is a different world. So what I have used as a crutch for my writing, I could use for an urban fantasy book. I might consider it. This advice definitely takes away a bit of the fear for me.

Life is always mind-boggling.

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