Under no circumstances should you date your writing- i.e. using slang- unless it is an integral part of your piece.
Over the weekend, I began transcribing that novel I wrote when I was thirteen and in the process of creating a digital copy of it (because younger me did no such thing and prior to alternative methods of storage, I’ve gone through a lot of computers growing up, so printing was the best way to save my work), I found myself smacking myself in my face and groaning at the piece. Aside from my writing being amateur and pre-pubescent, my descriptions and dialogues were greatly lagging, and there was an over-usage of slang that is no longer used.
I found myself cringing as I transcribed those sentences and winced in embarrassment at the thought that my once beautiful feat of accomplishment read like an older adult trying to remain hip with the times and falling short by still managing to be a few years behind the times. I mean, no one uses the word “hook” anymore as a way of expressing something they like in terms of activity. Nor does anyone dress in overtly baggy clothes. Granted sagging does still occur, the times have changed to afford everyone with a much neater look than one of them wearing hand me downs that don’t fit.
Regardless, I endured the torture that any potential reader of this particular work of fiction would have and tried to revise as much as I could to not only maintain the story, but remove the dated slang for more appropriate words.
In the process, all I could do was thank God for allowing me to grow up both in person and in writing, so that my pieces no longer sounded like a thirteen year old girl trying to recreate a world in which she was popular and well-liked by all. This is not to say that there aren’t thirteen year old writers out there that can kick ass when it comes to writing pieces of fiction, but to say, that I was not one of those girls, no matter how much I believed it.
Needless to say, this weekend I learned a very important lesson about writing that seems like a no-brainer to me, but clearly wasn’t to me back then.
Never date your pieces.