YA writers are constantly asking themselves who their readers are. This week, the Education Guardian helpfully published a glossary of words from the "MySpace generation" and it's a great eye-opener for the YA author.
I especially liked "404", as in "he’s got the 404" — from the internet error message. I just love the mind-blowing inventiveness of it all!
When you are a teenager you are still in the act of acquiring language. One of the reasons I really like YA is that teenagers are more interested in voice than adults.His comment woke me up to the fact that the YA reader is a tough act to follow:
Teenagers, . . . write more poetry per capita. They play more word games. They memorise more song lyrics. They like to spell things creatively. And a high percentage are in fact learning a language in school.The blogging agent Kristin Nelson recently described learning the word 'EMO' from a 15 year old at a dinner party.
His best friend calls himself an "EMO."Then what do you know, Agent Kristin got a submission featuring — guess — EMOs! And when you google it, you find . . . well I'm not sure if this is some kind of 'mock-you-mentary (the actual film is on YouTube, generating a lot of hate mail from EMOs) and there's this too.
First time I’d ever heard the word but I guess this is quite the rage at the moment in high schools (and yes, I did start feeling a little ancient). “Emo” is short for "emotionals." According to him (and yes, I understand that one source is hardly scientific), EMOs like to wear tight jeans (really straight leg), color their hair (but they don’t always have to), and like to listen to death metal or something that might be similar (that was a little fuzzy for me and the bands he named weren’t ones I recognized).
I felt like I had been given a peek into a secret world.
I’d never heard the word either, until I saw it in the Guardian's glossary ("The new goth. Likes depressing and angry music and has long black hair swept across the eyes").Whatever the politics of EMOs, all I can think is . . . if only I could write half as creatively as kids use language — how daunting to serve such an audience!
And what a privilege!