and not just to you" my young friend informed me this morning.
Nicola Morgan and I have been at cross purposes again. I think we are actually talking about the same thing but Nicola thinks I have the wrong end of the stick - and I think she has misunderstood me.
We were talking about writing for young people. Now, let me say:
(1) I think it is difficult
(2) I do not think we need to try and sound like them. That would be a mistake, a big mistake. It would be talking down to them. It would also date so rapidly that the book would be out of date before you finished writing it.
(3) I do think that we have to listen to the intended audience. By listening I do not mean listening to vocabulary however 'cool' it might sound or sentence structure 'Yeah, right' or grammar - the plural of 'you' is not 'yous'. That is the surface language. Surface language changes with circumstances. So do topics of conversation. I do not discuss politics with a two year old or use repetitive language with a normal adult.
(4) We have to understand the underlying language being used. This can change with audience and circumstances. The underlying language used by a young person with other young people will also vary according to the activity - school, sport, other recreation, mating and dating etc.
The underlying language they use will be different again when they are talking to adults and, within that, according to the adult or adults with whom they are talking.
(5) It is all very subtle and will be conveyed in all sorts of ways. Writing well means getting the underlying language across by using words.
(6) It is damned difficult...and I probably have not explained this well...
Nicola probably will not read this but does anyone else understand what I am talking about? Am I really that far off the mark?