I’ve already written about reality as a subject matter which would also include language. Those words we don’t like or may not use, but are words this age group know and use, even when we think they don’t.
This topic also refers to everyday normal average language. How these ages talk and how we talk to them. There are times we forget they know more than we think they do and what we wish they didn’t know. Most would like them to stay younger, innocent, than what the world is requiring of them, making them. Maybe it’s just how we as humans are advancing. I know the teens around me appear more aware about life and the world than I was at the same age. This generation is also far more accepting of new ideas and identities than mine. At least from my memory.
One bit I am sure of, my generation and my daughter’s generation share – we weren’t and they aren’t stupid. Yes, we all have made dumb choices, said idiotic things, but we’re not stupid. Talking down to anyone is the surest way to have them turn away from you. Writing down – dumbing down the writing – is the same thing. It’s irritating.
Having your characters behave and talk beneath their age is the perfect method to make this mistake. My teen and her friends read a passage from a book I was evaluating and their first comments were – not my group, we don’t talk like that, and that’s for younger kids. Even with the characters being their age.
Don’t be shy about having someone from your characters’ age read your manuscript…you may even find the older generation to do this for your older characters. Listen to their views and as with all advice: take what rings true and ignore the rest.
Give value and you’ll receive value back.