Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words In YA Fantasy

Hello! How’s your week going? I’m busy cramming for a test and attempting my dissertation 😁

This is the second meme I’d thought I’d try on my blog! It’s called Top Ten Tuesday and is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s a meme I’ve always loved to read on my friend Jos awesome book blog and one I can’t wait to try and write!
The original was overused words in YA titles, but I’m going to go with overused words in YA to mix it up a bit!

So here’s my list of overused words in YA that I think we can all say get just a little old:

1. Mahogany
As a writer of YA Fantasy (don’t get too excited, I’m totally unpublished) I am guilty of this little detail myself. But every room accessory made of wood in YA is mahogany. There are dark mahogany desks galore, the odd polished mahogany tables and a handful or mahogany chairs to go with it. I’ve read mahogany floor tiles, window sills, beams in old houses that somehow require beams. It’s like there is no other wood in these YA fantasy realms. I’m shocked there’s a mahogany tree left alive with the amount of demand there seems to be in the YA world!

2. Strawberry Shampoo
Is the line “I could smell her strawberry shampoo” or variations of it just a little too familiar? Doesn’t the cool, pretty girl always have strawberry scented hair? I personally have never analysed the depths of someone’s hair smell to work out what it’s scent is but strawberry seems to be a standard thing to do in teen literature.

3. Deepening of the Kiss
What is a deeper kiss??! Am I missing out on some completely passionate and incredible experience here? I have no idea what “then he deepened the kiss” means. Is it tongue? Is it pressing closer? I just can’t work it out, but it seems to be a very sudden change in kissing. Like one minute it’s a peck and the next BOOM it’s a full on snog? I don’t have a clue what this means and I’m not wholly convinced the author does either. But whatever it means, it’s an unnecessary overused detail.

4. Suddenly
Ok, this word isn’t that common but when it comes up it is a real gripe. Creative writing 101: never use suddenly. It’s boring and the word isn’t “sudden” at all- it’s a full three syllables. It just doesn’t read that well, there are so many more colourful and interesting words out there to describe a change in scene or a change in perspective. And before you say ‘use an onomatopoeia’, read below, that’s not an option either. Although saying “KAPOW she turned around” is preferable to “suddenly she turned around”, but neither are great in my opinion.

5. Onomatopoeias
I know I use the odd onomatopoeia. In fact there’s one just further up in this blog post. But I don’t like them at all in books. They come across silly and childish. They detract from the action scene that the book was narrating and pulls me out of the story completely. Describe how the sounds resonates, it’s effect, characters feelings upon hearing it, don’t attempt to make the sound with capital letters. Because KAPOW has no place in novel that is not a comic (or very specific context like a joke about onomatopoeias or when your character are for some reason sitting in an English lesson and learning about them. Hey I might even allow them in dialogue when a particularly childish character is narrating a story or something. But not in prose, NEVER IN PROSE.)

So that’s my list of five! I pretty well gave up on 10 (hehe oops) because 5 is just much more manageable 😛
What about you guys? Have you done this topic? Got any YA (or another genre!) gripes to complain about? Feel free to chat in the comments section!

16 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words In YA Fantasy

  1. The amount of fruity shampoo females use in books is incredible…
    I mean, i dunno what products those are, but i never smelled anything distinctive on any living person. My flatmate has all sorts of hair products but even on her i can’t say i could actually smell anything that specific, and i’ve done her hair multiple times…
    My own hair smells “hair” most of the time, no matter what i put on it…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never noticed but mahogany and strawberry shampoo does seem to pop up a lot in YA books! All I can think of is that scene in The Hunger Games movie when Essie is like ‘That is mahogany!’ 😂


  3. Great list! All of these are so true and I didn’t even realise how overused these are until I read your list, especially mahogany which every item of furniture definitely seems to be made out of in YA fantasy!

    Liked by 1 person

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