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|
|bye, Felicia||mind blown|
|deuces||missed your face|
|dumpster fire||new phone who dis?|
|epic fail||on point|
|giving me life||slay|
|go home, you’re drunk||squad goals|
|hard pass||swipe right/left|
|hot take||trigger warning|
|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!