Any reader, not to mention any writer, knows how much William Shakespeare has influenced modern lexicon. Every day we see terms such as sea change, foregone conclusion, sorry sight, and fool’s paradise. All his. In fact, any cool term that isn’t a cliché probably originated with Will.
Does this happen in everyday modern life? Indeed, made-up terms and definitions burrow into our vernacular–and dictionaries, all the time. Think of bromance, a non-sexual, non-romantic close relationship between two guys. How about buzzworthy? Something whether by internet or word of mouth raises massive interest?
Ever heard of emoji? You know, those tiny icons and images used to express emotion when words just won’t do.
So…should we use stuff like this in our writing? Will a certain phrase or lingo stick our stories story permanently in a particular year, or setting? Or will readers think us hopelessly old-fashioned if we don’t use updated stuff in our books?
Oh, it’s easy when I write historical Westerns. The lingo, the vernacular have been pretty set for a century and a half.
But how about my contemporaries?
Right now, I’m especially thinking about the trend, or should I say trendY way of adding Y to words to make then adjectives. I mean, we’ve always had sleepy, grumpy and gooey.
Well, and trendy itself.
But lately, Y is becoming ever-present. At a session at the RWA conference last July in Atlanta, a presenter clearly annunciated, angsty and tropey.
I had a reader like my inspirational books because they aren’t judgey.
Articles in my local Sunday paper recently discussed Pinteresty and Tumblry social media. An actress’s hair was described, not as auburn, but auburny. And an upcoming TV series heralded as flash-forwardy and flash-backy. Both.
A program I like to watch features amateur home cooks. One judge hailed a contestant’s effort as a restauranty dish.
Since I’ve made myself aware of the Y factor, I’ve heard or read twisty, moley, and spammy. Oh, let’s not forget James Bondy.
But I find myself falling into the trap. On a recent trip to Leadville, Colorado, I extolled hubby to find a “local-colory” place to eat. Texting our daughter after a particular uninspiring stretch of highway, I called Hotchkiss, Arizona “a little deserty place.” And when she responded with a picture of her baby kicking back after playtime, I described him as looking “relaxy.”
Maybe all of the above will start appearing regularly in books. Dictionaries. Blogs.
Will they appear in my contemporary stories? Can’t say.
For now, my western historical trilogy for The Wild Rose Press’ Lawmen and Outlaws brand finishes up this year with Outlaw in Love. Isn’t the cover dreamy?
And Christmas for Ransom (Book 1) and Outlaw Bride (Book 2) are available. If you like outlaws and how True Love redeems them, the series will really rope you in!
Thanks to Babette for letting me hang out today!
A giveaway! I’ll send a PDF or Kindle copy of Christmas for Ransom to one commenter, so please leave your name and e-mail address.
Good-hearted outlaw Jack Ransom hires a schoolmarm to teach him to read—his grammaw’s dying request. And he starts falling in love fast with beautiful Eliza Willows who quickly gives him her own heart…before she realizes it’s HER horses he stole!
You can buy Christmas for Ransom at: Amazon.com | The Wild Rose Press
After surviving her own hanging, outlaw Jessy Belle Perkins hides out as a nun. She wants to love handsome Cleeland Redd, rancher and former Cavalry scout, but she can’t trust him with the truth and put him and the convent in danger. Her bad boy brother Ahab is fast on her trail!
You can buy Outlaw Bride (current release) at: Amazon.com
Outlaw in Love (coming late 2014)
On the run from his gang, outlaw Ahab Perkins has no place to go but good. He’d give his heart to Teresa in a single beat…if the beautiful woman in gray weren’t a…nun.
Unbeknownst, Teresa Avila is as wanted as Ahab, hiding out in disguise, convinced she’s not good enough for any man, not even the outlaw she’s falling for.
Enter a burned-out homestead, an abandoned little girl and a kindly sheriff…and love guides their souls out of darkness!
Tanya Hanson loves those cowboys so much she recently traveled around the Tetons on a real wagon train and cowgirl’d up at a ranch in Bandera, Texas. She writes Western historicals for The Wild Rose Press and is finishing up a contemporary series of inspirational Western romances featuring the eight siblings at “Hearts Crossing Ranch.”
Recently Prairie Rose Publications released her first-ever inspirational historical western romance, Claiming His Heart!
A California beach girl, she loves traveling with her firefighter hubby, being gramma to two adorable little boys, watching Hallmark movies, and volunteering at the local horse rescue.
You can find Tanya at:
21 thoughts on “The Y Factor By Tanya Hanson, Author of Outlaw Bride”
Tanya, thanks for the amusement this morning. I’ve noticed the Y supremacy of late, too, and I’ve just about decided this must by Y’s revenge. Poor thing. After centuries of straddling the fence between vowels and consonants, never completely welcome in either camp, frustration has led Y to attempt to fit in by becoming all things to all people. 😉
Can’t wait to dive into your latest in the Lawmen and Outlaws series. Love me some Tanya Hanson bad boys!
Hi Kathleen, yowzers, waking up today still feeling poorly (spent yesterday in bed), you sure know how to get a gal to feel better! I actually love all three outlaws…my editor now thinks I should write a story about Rattler, the worst of ’em all.. Tempting!
Thanks for the kind post today! xoxox
Tanya, I loved your story in HEARTS AND SPURS. You’re a talented writer whose work always entertains. Great post. Writing contemporaries always makes me wonder how trendy to make the work. Another reason I love writing historical western romance. But I do have two contemporaries I plan to write this year.
Hi Caroline, mega-talented writer! I do know what you mean about modern stuff…one of my publisher refuses to let me use anything trademarked. I had to fight to use Facebook. I mean, that’s in the dictionary, already, sheesh. I have a YA out under another name and it was decided to set it in 1992, which actually was great…it still feels contemporary but I don’t have to deal with the constant changes in technology.
You’re right. All those tidbits we find for our historicals are fair game in the public domain! Thanks so much for stopping by today! xo
This is good, very informationY!
Thanks, Nancy. It was fun to be on the lookout for Y words LOL.
It is funny how we adapt our language. Thanks for an interesting read!
Hi Tanya. Loved your blog today. So true!
That’s why I like westerns, the dialogue is color-y!!!!!
HI Charlene, thanks so much for stopping by! I know how busy your days are. Yup…I so agree! Lots of fun getting our cowboys to speak their minds! xoxox
Hi Debra, I think nothing takes one out of a historical story than too-modern language. Yet…too many archaic words do turn off readers. Oh, what to do LOL ! Thanks so much for posting today.
Hi, Tanya, What an interesting post about our changing language! Very fascinating. I suspect we shouldn’t include these trends in our writing any more than, like, we should, like, tend to, like, use certain other terms popular in the not-so-distant past.
And yes, that is a dreamy cover! Absolutely beautiful!
Howdy Laura, thanks for stopping by today! I do agree with you…something prevalent today will probably be obsolete by the time the book releases if we use it in our ms. And thanks to Debbie Taylor for the covers. I just love each one. I volunteer at our local horse rescue and have been totally hooked by each and every one the white horses we care for!
I guess I’ve not been paying too much attention! I tend to put a -y when I make up a word that uses the Y. James Bondy cracked me up. Good luck on your release.
Hi Vicki, you’re making me laugh, too. I know I was doing it subconsciously too…until I got aware of it. Thanks for posting today.
Great post, Tanya. I get very upset about the amount of modern words I see in historicals–talking about the hero’s “abs” or “accessorizing” an outfit. As for the contemporary language ‘dating’ a book, if it was in use, then it’s realistic as far as I’m concerned–but I think authors have to take care that words we take for granted today may not have been around a few years ago. Using an etymological dictionary is one way to know–but it’s always a matter of knowing what words to check! Good luck with the books.
Hi Andi, yes indeed, I am very much a dictionary girl. I think also technological terms need to be scrutinized. I have an action-adventure, ms from a while back that I got out “storage” and though recent, it’s got a communication device I thought up very clever then, but would already be obsolete now that everybody has iPhones and droids. Thanks so much for stopping by today. I so appreciate it..
Very funny essay–and so true. I think the added “y” is meant to imply a simile–as in “How’s that hopey changey thing working for you?” In other words, “he’s” not exactly James Bond but like him in so many ways (I’m obviously talking about Robert Downey, Jr.). Enjoyed. M. S. Spencer
Howdy M.S. Spencer, I think you’re exactly right. I’ve used so many of them for just ever: now I’m just really aware of Y. I love your take on it. Thanks so mcuh for stopping by!.
Thanks so much to Babette for lending me some of her cyberspace for these few days. And thanks to you who left comments, I So appreciate all y’all.
Miss Caroline Clemmons, your name just flew out of the Stetson! I’l be in touch.
Love to all, and happy trails..
Tanya, after all the browbeating from editors and critters and beta readers who point to adverbs and say, “delete, delete, delete”, I cringe when I see words like ‘flash-forwardy”, lol. I admit it. That’s one bandwagon I will not be jumping on.
LOL I hear ya, Mairi. I think it’s fine in conversation, but I fear it will date those conteporaries really quick. Thanks for the post. Sorry my drawing is over but… hope you’ll find me on Facebook. Thanks.