Today I’d like to talk about a topic that comes up pretty regularly amongst myself and my writer buddies, and my editors.
Slang. In my case, British slang. As you know, I’m British, and so are the vast majority of my characters. Therefore they’re going to use British slang, or words that might not be used elsewhere in the world. It’s just naturally how those characters speak or think, and, I believe, how a story is given authenticity. When I’m reading, I love stories to have local flavour based on where they’re set, or where the character is from. It’s what makes a story interesting and unique. If all characters thought or sounded the same, wouldn’t books be dull?
On the other hand, I do understand that if a word is present that a reader might not know, it can throw them a bit. But as a reader myself, I’ll generally pick up the meaning from the context of the sentence. If not, I’ll Google it.
Sometimes I have to fight (not literally, of course!) with my editors to keep certain words as there’s a concern that readers not from Britain won’t understand their meaning. Occasionally I’ll bend, if the context of the sentence doesn’t help with the meaning of the word. But more often, I’ll insist on keeping it. I don’t think it helps to remove that local flavour, which can often change the meaning of what I’ve written in the first place. It also insults the reader’s intelligence to assume they won’t get it, or look the word up, therefore learning something new.
What do you think? Do you like to read slang words from other countries? Does it add to the story for you? Do you look up words you don’t know the meaning of?
Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9