Day 79: The Language of a Dystopian Novel

Since I’m writing a dystopian novel, I have to be thinking about the language at least as much as the physical world itself.

What curse words do they use? (They’re teens – of course they curse.) If I remember correctly (I’m remote-blogging so can’t double-check) Scott Westerfield’s characters in The Uglies use “bubbly” for their cursing. I think my characters will use known curse words; “fuck” for example, has been around since the 1500s; why wouldn’t it hang around a few more hundred years?

Other words to consider: “street” terms for everyday objects: soda, anyone? Or would you prefer a coke? Or a pop, maybe?

It’s a challenge to answer these questions in a way that seems natural to the characters and place.

More to think about.

Oh a note before I call it a night and tune into my writing meeting: I will shortly no longer be blogging daily. I enjoy it but it’s time to start putting more of that time to actually writing. (Which equals more excerpts – yay!) I’ll be posting at least weekly and probably much more than that, but not daily.

No new words on my novel so it’s just good night!

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About thewritingblues

I'm a writer working on a YA dystopian novel and blogging on my progress - or lack thereof - and other cool writing stuff.
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4 Responses to Day 79: The Language of a Dystopian Novel

  1. mutantreptile says:

    Did you ever see the movie Brick? They’re in high school, but they talk right out of a 1940’s film noir. Loved how they used language in that movie.

  2. thewritingblues says:

    No, I haven’t, but I’ll have to check it out. Is the HS in current times then?

  3. beckony says:

    I never thought about this before (well, except in the context of historical fiction–all of my sci-fi tends to be near future). I think a big part of it would be cultural shift–like how “coward” in Shakespeare’s time would be a dire insult, while today its mostly a joke. Also, native speakers corrupting grammar makes new slang, like “I’m good” instead of “I’m well” so chopping up sentence structure would be interesting.

  4. thewritingblues says:

    Yes, exactly. And how do you decide where the culture will shift to? I suspect some of that will come in my revisions, and not in my first draft. Good thoughts!

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