Please excuse any mess around here while blog is undergoing damage repair.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ahh...my all time favorite shoes ever!


Now, let me set one thing straight. I hate, I mean really, really hate, cold weather. But I do love my Ugg boots! Who doesn't? Stylish on the outside. Comfy-cozy on the inside. Oh, and the best part is, they make me feel young. You wanna know why? Because teenagers wear them too.

Okay, those of you who know me, know that this isn't a plug for Ugg boots and that I'm actually going somewhere with this. So, I'll get to it.

As you can see from my profile, I write young adult fiction. I'm drawn to this genre because it's where I feel my author's voice fits best. I'm no expert in the genre, but throughout my journey, I have learned a lot. One thing that I've heard over and over again is the importance of using strong verbs. I understand the concept, and I do see the importance. But I also feel that the use of a strong verb sometimes undermines the voice. In my opinion, voice trumps rules any day.

Have you ever heard a teenager tell a story? It's always something like...

"So I was walking down the street, and this kid comes out of nowhere." or "I go into the kitchen, and someone freakin' ate my chocolate pudding." or "I'm already late, so I head straight to my first hour class."

Notice it's always verbs like "walk", "comes", "go", "head". Personally, I don't think they can relate to words like "promenade", "lollop", "perambulate". These are exaggerated examples, but I like to exaggerate when making a point. Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't try to use stronger verbs, but I am saying, I don't think we should sacrifice voice to do it.

Bottom line is, the best scenario is to find verbs that are both strong and fit with a teen voice. Like the Ugg boots. They can be enjoyed by adults and teens alike.

What do you think? How would you rank the importance of the use of strong verbs? Got any examples of good, solid, strong, teen verbs?

15 comments:

jbchicoine said...

Susan! So nice to see you back!

I guess the way I try to balance the two is to use strong verbs (but not too obscure) in narrative and let voice take over in dialogue. It gets really tricky though, in first person POV--not sure just where to draw the line...

Jennifer Shirk said...

I heard a few say "bounce" for go, I think. LOL But that was a a few months ago.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha! The high school teacher in me LOVES this post! You totally nailed teen voice, Susan. And I love the way you used Uggs to make the point! :-)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

They like anything that could come across as cool.

I like Jennifer's bounce. I think I might start using it. :D
~ Wendy

Tamika Eason said...

Hi Susan! It's been too long:)

My tween is always correcting me. I can't seem to grasp the lingo, and I'm too old to argue:)

Tere Kirkland said...

Love this post. I think you need to be true to voice, no matter what. My wip is set in the 19th century, with a 16 year old male lead. I'm having a lot of fun with the voice, but it's hard to stay true sometimes when my inner editor is screaming at me to stop saying "ain't". ;)


Gotta bounce!

Terri Tiffany said...

You're back!! I was happy to see your name on my blog:)
I try to use strong verbs but ones that aren't too far out there if you know what I mean--verbs we might actually use.

Nancy said...

I think voice would have to win out if there were truly a contest. I like Rebecca's suggestion. Would that work?

I personally don't hear enough teenagers to know what verbs they use.

Robyn Campbell said...

Yay! Susan! I'z happy dancing to see you back.

Strong verbs that really sound like teen voice. You rock! (((hugs))) And a big smooch, Sus!

Sherrie Petersen said...

I love teen voice. Probably because I still talk that way myself :P

Diane said...

Missed you and hope all is well! I write for kids so I got nothing for ya here. Hugs :O)

Diane said...

Missed you and hope all is well! I write for kids so I got nothing for ya here. Hugs :O)

Dawn Simon said...

Like jbchicoine, I think we have to think about narrative and dialogue. Also, while keeping dialogue real, I don't want it to be too real.

Have a great week, Susan! :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Ha! I love your example. And I've never promenaded anywhere, though I think one of my characters has moseyed. I don't write YA, clearly :) Yeah, I agree with the others. You definitely have to keep voice in the dialogue, and use those stronger verbs elsewhere, though more is not necessarily better. I'd say you can totally get creative with the adjectives, though--that's REALLY where the teens have that specific voice.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Uh...all I know is my daughter says she doesn't like it when YA authors try to use slang. So with that...

I'm outtie. Gotta bounce.