aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Will your readers understand your words?

On a long car trip, listened to Laurie Halse Anderson's Prom. on tape in the car. (Perhaps not the best choice for an 11 year old - the blowjob reference caused some squirming - but otherwise it was a book about a girl who was close to her family and made pretty good choices and had a bigger dream at the end of it. Certainly not the horrible monstrosity the Amazon reviewer "Mothers4Morality" made it out to be.)

Anyway, at one point, "Nat's father came downstairs with an afghan. He covered Nat with it."

This totally confused the 11 yo. The only afghan the 11 yo is familiar with lives in Afghanistan and wears a turban. Thereafter the use of the word afghan caused a lot of merriment, as kid pictured real live Afghan and not the crocheted throw I saw in my mind's eye.

I'm sure a lot of my words are dated. And I don't always get current slang. Some writer friends were discussing whether kids would get the meaning of the term PW (which, author that I am, made me think of Publishers Weekly, not pussy whipped), and MILF, which I wasn't familiar with. Of course, the danger of using current slang is that it dates a book. In my last book, Shock Point, the editor made me take out the names of current bands and current brands.

But after today, I'm going to think twice about my word choice.

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