Friday, May 4, 2018

Millennial Speak

When I finished the first full draft of my young-adult contemporary novel last fall, this is how I felt:

I loved the characters and plot, but the voice was all wrong. My teenagers didn't sound like teens. After feedback from a handful of wonderful beta-readers, I knew I had to do a complete rewrite.

The story was originally in third-person, told as alternating POVs of the two main characters. Changing to first-person already made a big difference in how I was able to relate to the characters' emotions (one of the main critiques from my betas), but I also needed to update my references and slang.

My MCs are 18-19, which is at the tail-end of the Millennial designation (* depending on what source you cite. Some categorize them as Gen Y. It's all just too confusing, actually). So, how did I find the appropriate slang? Research, of course! Urban Dictionary is helpful, but it's also a rabbit hole you don't want to go too far down in. I also found a few articles about "2018 slang" which had lists. You can also watch shows like Riverdale to check out what all the cool kids are saying. In the end, I put together my own list, which I will now share with you!

Not all of these made it into the final manuscript, but sprinkling them into dialogue and/or inner monologues definitely improved the YA voice:

asking for a friend low-key
bae mansplain
bandwidth mic drop
bye, Felicia mind blown
deuces missed your face
dumpster fire new phone who dis?
epic fail on point
fake news OTP
fam sad panda
friend zone salty
fraud savage*
get wrecked ship
giving me life slay
go home, you’re drunk squad goals
goat stan
hangry straight fire
hard pass swipe right/left
hot take trigger warning
imposter syndrome troll
let it go truth bomb
living my best life uber

*Note that savage may be considered offensive, especially given a certain context.

Did I miss any good ones? Let me know in the comments!

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