Why would anyone want to write like a young adult? According to a study, those between 18-34 are embracing all things digital. Given that young readers prefer reading contemporary writers, how do you create a niche in an online world that is abuzz with noise? How do you infuse the spirit of youth in your keyboard even if you are sliding towards antiquity? You've tried everything from pun to fun and yet you read like a didactic dinosaur. This piece is for you unless you write about the Syrian crisis, the tumbling oil prices, land reforms or why Hindus should have four kids.
After the literary forays of several IITians rendered the Rushdies and Naipauls redundant, an avalanche of young writers burst forth with novels about romancing their professor's daughter and losing their virginity. The topics were contemporary, the style unpretentious, and the prose unadorned. If the purpose of writing was to be read, it served the purpose. A blurb on a recent bestseller reads - Her writing is very young, very now and very funny.
Young. Now. Funny. That's the mantra.
It's the Humour
Coin a witty, self-deprecating, memorable tagline. Umm, something like the tagline of a popular blogger - "This blog is marginally more interesting than picking one's nose" or "General idiot for hire". Such wizards get blessed with comments such as Frikkin' Awesome, LOL-bey, Donkey Balls and Double ROFL. After years of blogging, I earned my single ROFL recently. I am now working towards Holy S**t and Totally Insane.
Short but Substantial
Nothing is more joyous than being able articulate thoughts that resonate with youngsters. Moreover, there is an addictive kick in knowing that young people across continents are enjoying your writing. With the youth conversing in 140 characters, no one has the time or the patience to read edifying sermons. So much for senile snobs who think Twitter is a waste of time. Verbosity today is a refuge of pompous politicians or garrulous television hosts. Even politicians are trying to rediscover the merits of being short and succinct. Long verbose posts are a big No.
Laugh at Yourself
Going by the above premise, your writing needs to pack a punch of irreverence, wit and brevity. Use candid humour, self-deprecation and loads of honesty. Learn to laugh at yourself and make sure that your sense of self-importance does not overpower your sense of humour. Else, you could end up sounding like someone who, allegedly in jest, blogged about why Katrina Kaif should be the President of India. Some jokes crash with a thud.
Laugh at Others
You can laugh at someone and yet respect them. You can joke about people without belittling them. It's an art. Some call it satire. Unless you master the art of making your point without offending, stay away from lampooning anything that is remotely saffron or green. It can be deadly as recent events have shown. You might not be killed but the income tax guys could drop in for a cup of coffee. Talking of beverages, try writing after a drink or two. Now you are ready to attempt the flowery lingo used by your college-going kid's friend - the one you think is a bad influence. Remember youngsters don't write different stuff, they just write in a different manner.
Memes and Marketing
Memes are ideal for the short attention span of the internet generation. This is why they have become a pervasive part of popular culture. So learn to play with images. Let's say, you are as tech challenged as I am. It is likely that you will be in an awkward situation where young bloggers are talking about coding and widgets. Look disinterested and say, "You continue with the basics, while I go and meet the others." Or lie, "I don't believe in tech support. My content is good enough." Then go home and plead with your kid to teach you about SEO, plug-ins and social media marketing. Learn to tweet like a sparrow, Facebook as if Zuckerberg's life depended on you, and develop a thick skin. Because for every ROFL, you are likely to get ten, "B**l S**t." Hell hath no fury like a youngster defending his religion, profession or gender.
Damn, I forgot all about the content being king. Must be the drink. What? Despite all the gyan, I read like a 60 year old? You dumbass!