1. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Active Member

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    References that kids will get?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Adam Bolander, Apr 6, 2020.

    Like I've said in other threads, I've decided to start considering my book Middle Grade rather than Young Adult. That means there's one part that I need to change so that my target audience will get it.

    "If I give you five dollars, will you leave me alone?" he asked.
    "As alone as Tom Hanks without a volleyball!" I promised.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

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    I'd be guessing that you mean teenagers right? like 13 to 19. In which case anything marvel, or anime popular on Netflix. But even then the reason that quote you already have works is because it's a very well known situation across multiple generations from a very popular movie. You'd be hard pressed to find something like that unless you go for Disney films.

    Like, "As alone as Simba after Mufasa died." or "As alone as Elsa locked away in her room."
    You might be able to get away with marvel for the older kids.
    "As alone as Tony Stark in a Siberian bunker."

    But I don't think you'll find an easily understandable reference from current films. Also, whatever reference you use, if it's not from a suitably famous work, will out date itself and become irrelevant in a couple years. I'm sure I'm just telling you stuff you already know at this point. Generally I advise away from using references cause it dates your story.

    Is there not a chance you can just make up a funny thing for the character to say? Or is there a certain burn factor necessary that you can't get without a suitable quote?

    What about a quarantine joke? That'll stick around for a good long while

    Any younger than 13 and they really don't the mental capacity to connect those sorts of dots. I'd even say a 13 year old isn't that good at it unless they're a bit advanced in the critical thinking area.
     
  3. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Active Member

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    The age range for middle grade is 10-14, MAYBE 15. Anything above that is considered young adult.

    It doesn't necessarily have to be a reference, but it took me days to think of the Tom Hanks joke, and now that I can't use it I'm drawing a complete blank.
     
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You might consider going more generic. When you use references to movies or music, things like that, they can date your piece. For period pieces that's a good thing. But if it's just a simile and not something you are purposefully using to world build an era, then consider something more generic.

    As alone as the last raisin in the cereal bowl.
    As alone as that one leftover lego piece when the model is built.
    As alone as my dog when everyone's left for school.
     
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  5. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

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    I suppose the only thing I can tell you is that children are dumb. Very dumb, pop culture references are a step above their playing field. You've sort of drawn the short straw here.

    I read in another thread of yours on this story that you posted it somewhere and they all said the humour was too immature for young adult readers. But really, unless it's full of toilet jokes and people getting smacked with random things that's probably not true.

    Yeah a lot of teenagers have a dark sarcastic humour but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy lighter comedy as well. For example, I was one of those super edgy murder is hilarious teens but I still found Naruto farting Kiba's face one of the funniest things I'd ever seen, does the scene hold up when watching it again, no but that's because the humour is predicated on the unpredictability of the action.

    Also, the older you get the more immature and lighter your humour becomes. Think about what you found funny as a kid and then as a teenager compared to now.

    The Tom Hanks reference might fall short anyway. I've never seen the movie and the only reason I know about it is because someone told me about it. References are hard, as soon as you make one you've aimed it a specific group of people. You just have to think about what's popular for that age group.

    10 to 13 are still into cartoons so maybe a Pokemon reference instead, Harry Potter. The hell do kids like?
     
  6. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Senior Member

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    "What the hell do kids like?"

    Music - boy bands seem popular with girls. New kids on the block, n'syc, one direction, etc. I know these are old but reference only.

    Gossip. Sports. Celebrities like the karshaidians or whatever. Reality TV - survivor, the bachelor, big brother.

    Full of hormones, I assume girls like boys and boys like girls, etc. Or boys liking boys and girls liking girls. Not in the sense of "let's get married and make babies" but more in the sense of "let's spend time together! All our time!"

    If Greta's an example, the environment and other causes like homelessness and poverty.

    Really, can't you survey a group of kids and ask them? Normally I'd say call a school and ask if the social studies or current events teacher could survey a few classes to help you out......



    Take a look at the comic strips "Foxtrot" by Bill Amend and "Zits" by Jerry Bergman and Jerry Scott. Some ideas there as well.
     
  7. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Active Member

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    Dropping the idea of pop culture references, here's a few ideas I had:

    "If I give you five dollars, will you leave me alone?"
    "Do male seahorses give birth?"

    or
    "Are penguins plotting to take over the world?"
    or
    "Do rubber baby buggies bump?"
    or
    "Do warthogs fart a thousand times a day?"
    (followed by)
    "I...have no idea."
    "Me neither. But yeah, I'll leave you alone."
     

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