Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How To Tweet/Blog Like A YA Author

Maybe you've noticed, maybe you haven't, but successful blogging/tweeting YA writers have a certain way of speaking (technically typing, but still a form of linguistic communication). Well, I've noticed—I didn't major in English linguistics for nothing you know. I find this stuff fascinating.

Yes, I'm a nerd.

This way of speaking is actually a social dialect—it defines members of this writer circle, shows who's in and who's not quite.

I'm dubbing this dialect the YA Writers Epic Social/Online Media English. YAWESOME for short. I know, that was my one genius moment of the day. You should feel special, because I used it on you and not my WIP.

So YAWESOME has many defining characteristics, most of which I'm sure you're familiar with. And if not, consider this the GUIDE TO YAWESOME.

YAWESOME Features:

This is a central feature to YAWESOME, particularly in tweets though some writers also utilize it in blogging. It is used most often to convey excitement, and may be accompanied by an excess of exclamation points.

An alternate use is to convey emphasis, especially in Twitter since there is no italicized feature.

Example: I went into THE HOUSE.

When capitalized, this has a different semantic meaning than just plain old "I went into the house." It might also be funnier or more entertaining, which is an important goal of YAWESOME. Usually context is needed to determine the deeper meaning of capitalization.

2. Stage Directions
YAWESOME also features a type of stage directing, as if the speakers are taking actions right in their tweet/post.

Example: *shifty eyes* I didn't take it.

Stage directions appear to be added for entertainment factor, and to convey action in a largely 2D community.

3. Hashtags/Parentheticals
On Twitter, the YAWESOME user will often employ long, rambling hashtags. While the hashtag is meant to allow other tweeters to find common topics, YAWESOME users do it as a way of adding parenthetical thoughts/opinions.

Example: I love chocolate. #whymypantsdontfitanymore

Again, the main purpose is likely to entertain in the shortest letters possible.

In blogging, this takes the form of long parenthetical statements, where a writer will ramble on about a strange thought or two vaguely related to the topic of their post (or maybe not).

Example: See almost every post on Kiersten's blog (I mostly did that because I know she'll laugh [I like making her laugh].)

4. Hyperbolic Slang
YAWESOME employs a set of morphemes that serves to convey extreme excitement and/or love of people, places, and things. Some of the most important (current) slang morphemes are:

word+fail (as in writerfail, editfail, vampirefail, etc.)

These words can also be combined to further emphasize the "awesomeness" or "not awesomeness" of something (Example: That was a win made of epically awesomeness). Other common online abbreviations are also used, as well as common "youthful" slang like "totally."

I theorize this feature was originally used in a kind of mocking tone, tongue in cheek. But now it has transformed into a way to express extreme like or dislike within the YAWESOME dialect.

5. One Liners
Only seen in blogging, the one line statement is yet another way to convey emphasis in YAWESOME. It is often done for comedic effect or even as a type of sidenote/parenthetical. (Note my example above: Yes, I'm a nerd.)

This concludes my initial study and identification of YAWESOME. Further research is needed to determine whether or not there is a difference between male and female speakers of YAWESOME. The definition of the dialect would also benefit from a deeper investigation of YAWESOME's lexicon. But as you can see, it is clear that YAWESOME is, indeed, a defined dialect, and I'm sure further study will bring out its particular nuances.

*closes notes*


*steps away from podium, basking in epic applause*


  1. This is great, Natalie! Spot on! And you are so right about Kiersten's parentheticals. I love them. She's made using parentheticals awesome.

  2. I don't know why you thought of me when talking about parentheticals.

    (Also, YAWESOME. Dude, you totally made my whole day. Also, dude, I never say things like "dude" and "totally" in my real life conversations.)

    (But I do sometimes wish I could use parenthesis in those conversations.)

  3. Applause! :)

    This was great! I must share this with others.

  4. this is classic. a true twitter 101. YAWESOME for the WIN.

  5. Never noticed it before but you definitely opened my eyes to this. :P I'm not a YA writer (at least not yet) but I know I use those long hash tags on Twitter entirely too often. As well as other aspects of this post...

    Perhaps I should take that as a hint. Maybe I'm in the wrong genre...

  6. DUDE. YAWESOME? Is AWESOME. #natalieisthebestevar

  7. This is great- and all so true! *giggle* #guiltyascharged

  8. AWESOMESAUCE +1 !!!!111!!1!!eleventy!

    Footnote - :D :) ;)

  9. ahahaha this is SO TRUE ZOMG.



  10. Dude, this is totally spot ON. ;D But I have an excuse, right? Since I'm a teenager? Even though I almost never use "dude" etc. in real life? RIGHT? RIGHT??

    Ahh, well. #groupthinkcanbeawesome

  11. I'm seriously beginning to suspect I'm a closet YA Author....(but I don't WANNA [Although I've thought about it often enough.])

  12. ZOMG #imsoembarrassed

  13. *smiling* This post is YAWESOME. I'm so guilty of this.

  14. To the people feeling guilty—don't! Dialects like this are important in defining social groups, etc. And it's not only a way of defining, but also a way of fostering camaraderie!

    You should never feel ashamed for speaking any dialect, and that goes for far more than YAWESOME.

  15. EPIC BLOGGERWIN! *rips out notes to study before bed tonight*

  16. This blog post is awesomesauce (one of the best YAWSOME words ever!)

    Love your new blog design!

  17. You. Forgot. About. The. Periods.

    :) This is so full of win, I can't even stand it.

    But, FTR, I would never EVAH blog or talk like that... #lies

  18. Jamie! How could I forget. the. periods? I'm ashamed.

    *adds to YAWESOME notes*

  19. I kind of knew I wasn't quite "in" yet, but now I understand why. Thanks for the post!

  20. This post was definitely the epic win of awesomeness! Though you did leave out the words we invent, like flubby or blug (or maybe that's just me and my CPs who do that).

    Also, anyone else find hashtags creeping into everything? Emails. IMs. Even conversations (yes, I'll actually say "pound" and then my hashtag out loud). Maybe that's just me...

  21. EpicNataliewin.




  22. I'm SUPER yawesome! *cheers overhead and bows*


  23. OMG! We DO all write like that don't we? And here I thought I was unique! *sniff*


  24. OMG. You totally outed our secret code!
    *pretends to be angry*
    All that's missing is the use of OMG and ROFL/LOL/LMAO WAY too often in a given conversation.

    (Am I the only one whose brain tries to say L-O-L when something's funny?)

  25. Did NOT realize several of these things were specific to YA writers.
    *whistles and looks away*

    I thought writing this way was just cool. #ifollowalltheepicspicetrends.


    Or maybe I should just start writing YA?!

  26. DUDE. This post is in a whole new realm of awesomeness.


  27. Classic.

    (There. That's my prediction for the new YAWESOME. One simple word to sum up your feelings. Will it catch on? Nobody know.)


  28. lol. You're so right, but it's stuff that you usually read over without noticing.

    Thanks for the fun post.

  29. Ha! *bows to your brilliance*

    Epic post.


  30. LOL!!! Dude. That was total awesomeness! (And here I thought I was the only one who used this word)

    Pleased to know I'm un-intentionally up with the play. *pats self on back*

    The lame thing is I actually talk like this in real life. :D
    Just as well I'm a YA writer. That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it!

  31. I've said it for a while now- I need major Twittervention. This post changed my world because I am seriously Twitter-challenged! Thanks for breaking it down for me. My blogger-in-crime, Martina, puts me to shame in the world of Twitter. After reading this, I have a lot to learn!


  32. You were spot on about Kiersten's post. I tend to do the same from time to time. Still, I learned a few things here. Thanks for the heads up! (Hugs)Indigo

  33. I have no idea what you're talking about. *grin* #icansototallyrelate


    For those of us not-twitterers, twitter-speak is referenced all the time on blogs and I have to nod my head and pretend that I have a clue and that I am not an old fogey.

    I'm printing this out.


  35. *nods sagely* I am SO cracking up. Thanks for this!

  36. You, lady, are made of awesome!! This is YA authors in a snap! I'm laughing so hard but it's TOTALLY TRUE!!!! Seriously.... EPIC WIN! xD

  37. Tee hee. So funny, and so true. #lovingyawesomeblogpost #yaauthorsunite

  38. Well, it's all been said already, and mostly in YAWESOME. But wow, girl. You nailed it! (except the periods. Thank heavens you aren't perfect yet!) ;-) Hopefully my YAWESOME is getting better every day so that I can fit in with all the awesomesauce writers out there. *blushes and bites nails*
    #maybesomedayiwillgetthehangofthis #preferablybeforeadifferentsitecomesoutandtwitterbecomesobselete

    Wait, those hashes were super long. Dang it. YAWESOMEfail. ;-)

  39. Shoutout to failblog.org for bringing fail to the mainstream and shoutout to WoW nerds for bringing Epic mainstream.

    I could just say nerds rule!

  40. Gee, I'm not a YA author and yet I still write like this. *thinks deeply* Maybe I'm just immature... LOL!


  41. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who noticed certain common 'styles' of speech . . .

    You laid them out so well though, I hadn't even noticed most of these but found myself nodding and saying 'Oh, yeah. . .' for all of them.

    An YAWESOME is made of total epic win.

  42. Dude! YAWESOME is FTW!


    /end fangirl

  43. This post is all types of YAWESOME, I love it :)

  44. Natalie, you are made of EpicWin, and will keep the rest of us Twitter noobs from getting pwnd.

    I would like to second Nick's shout out to Failblog and WOW nerds, and raise you the Internet in general for creating viral videos that we can pilfer for our slang enjoyment.

    Also, these videos, Know Your Meme http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cilLKufYOhE
    are hilarious. I love especially love the Epic Fail Response Curve.

    “Your shipment of FAIL has arrived.” ROTFLMAO.

  45. This is genius! Seriously epic. I'm a YA author and those are all things I do naturally--maybe I picked them up subconsciously from other YA authors. But you put a label on it and made it all make sense.

    You are made of awesome. Hee hee. I wonder if that phrase is going to get old soon.

    I'm totally following your blog now.