On Fleek, and Other Ridiculous Phrases

I was watching a YouTube makeup tutorial the other day and had to pause and take a minute to process the following viewer comment:


The comment received about a hundred “likes.” As a writer, I obviously perk right up at any trendy new phrase. Granted, I actually have heard this one before (it basically means “on point” and it’s usually in reference to someone’s physical appearance ex: my eyebrows are particularly on fleek today). But the thing that made me pause was: why on earth is this expression suddenly a thing? And who DECIDES what’s going to be a thing?

It’s like with the whole Bye Felicia meme that blew up online a few months ago, even though this was a Friday reference from freaking 1995.

Yes, the beauty guru in question did have a lovely smile, but on fleek?

It is, single handedly, the most ridiculous phrase I’ve heard in a very long time. I don’t think there is anyone on earth that can say it with a straight face. On fleek can only be said tongue in cheek. Try saying it seriously. I dare you.

It got me thinking about dialogue in YA. As with everything with writing, there’s a really fine balance. It’s so important to be authentic and current, but at the same time, it’s important not to throw in too much current, which will make waves with readers years later when these phrases are no longer a thing.

I’ve been called a timely writer, which I’ve found can be a bit hard sometimes. Everyone loves a timeless story, and I do think a lot of my elements are timeless, but overall my ideas tend to pull from trends. The thing is, I can’t help it: I LOVE trends. I’ve learned to tone it down a lot, but I still feel the constant urge to write in a very pop culture-esque moment or dialogue.

So how do you handle trendy dialogue in your work knowing not long from now words and phrases of today will be

(p.s. I just wanted to thank everybody for all the sweet well-wishes!! It seems the meds have worked their magic and I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER…the best I’ve felt in MONTHS, actually. I just have to take it easy so I’m 100% ASAP 🙂  xoxo