Writers strive to create voices that feel authentic, and sometimes, it can be a struggle. This is especially true for the young adult genre because more often than not, it’s not teens who are writing young adult lit but rather adults. And sometimes adults forget what it was like to be a teen.
One way some writers try to create authentic teen voices is by writing “like teens”. But usually this includes slang, and usually adults don’t get it right. I remember as a teen, some of the slang we used were words like “uber”,”phat”, and “cray cray”. Yeah, I’m old. Whatever. But how many of us used these words regularly and seriously? From my experience, not often.
Most of the time we spoke like normal people. You know, minus the occasional “that’s hot”.
And I think that’s how dialogue should be. Teens aren’t always going to be using slang. More often than not, they’re not going to use it very often. Dialogue should be a reflection of that.
When your writing is littered with slang, it becomes dated. It feels forced. It looks like you’re trying too hard. Ultimately, a little goes a long way.