Thursday, October 17, 2013

Incredulous. . . DING!


disinclined or indisposed to believe; skeptical.
indicating or showing unbelief: an incredulous smile.

I realized something about Young Adult fiction . . . the word INCREDULOUS! I do not think it means what they think it means. Looking over the definition it shouldn't be used so much, but oh . . . it is.

This word saturates any action-driven, paranormal YA fiction out there, like a cancer running through every page. It is so overused that a bell goes off in my head every time I read it. DING!

(As a church go-er, I had a very irreverent moment with something similar, a phrase that the teacher kept saying over and over. I would make the DING! and my friend and I had to hold in our laughter until tears filled my eyes and fell down my face. I told the teacher I was just so moved by what she said. Am I going to Hell?)

It's not as funny when you're reading it over and over. As a reader and a writer I notice these things. The Twilight series has "Incredulous" on nearly every page. The Mortal Instruments Series, not as bad, but still too many to count. At least Cassandra Clare gets points for using "Incredulity" instead.

I tried to think why YA writers use this word so much:
  • Maybe the author thinks that's what sullen, angsty teens do. Look at each other incredulously. Like the dumb expression- shifting their weigh and cocking their heads, like duh, don't you get it? "I'm a teenager and you're just an adult that doesn't understand anything, because you must've skipped being a teenager." I hope that, as an author, I can give teenagers some credit. Not all are "Incredulous."
  • Maybe it's just a fun word that hasn't gotten it's time in the sun, like "Farfegnugen" or "Chimichanga."
  • Maybe authors think they sound smarter when they use it, the magical word that makes an instant connection to the reader. "That's a smart word. I must be reading a smart book."
My point - We notice these things. Readers are not stupid. We hate it when you spell out the plot for us and we notice the lack of originality with wordplay. Authors might not, but I sure do. There are millions of words out there. So, get out your thesaurus and pick a new one.