Monday, March 28, 2011

Slang in Literature: how much is too much?

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enchantedConfession: I'm turning 31 this year. I look good for my age (the braces go a long way toward enhancing my youthful image.) Anyway, I'm willing to admit that I have never been the hippest chick on the block and age probably isn't helping.

I love novels that express interesting ideas using plain, everyday language. If they include a few swear words, I'm even happier. I don't even mind some slang, but I draw the line at texting abbreviations in books. I started reading an excerpt from Going Bovine by Libba Bray, and I was stunned that YALSA recommended a book that has WTF on the first page. I have nothing against WTF. I enjoy it! I use it daily on Facebook (FB) and on my iPhone. It's right up there with brb and lol and ROFL. I'm just not sure I'm ready to see that or WTFingly in print. Oh yes, I saw WTFingly. That was in The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

In order to connect across generations, I totally understand the need to communicate on their level, but as authors, we're doing this through books, and I don't think WTF belongs in print without being spelled-out upon its first use in the text. I mean, HTF are future generations going to understand how one does something WTFingly?