Take Ten

This creative writing exercise is from Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer

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Take Ten for Writers • No. 42 Creative Writing Exercise


Using slang or lingo to make your writing sound more realistic.

By Bonnie Neubauer | Updated September 9, 2018

Lingo-istics is my term for the touches of slang or lingo added to your dialogue and narrative to make your writing sound more realistic. Here’s a chance to try your hand (ear?) at some Lingo-istics.

If you need a starter, use: Lately . . .

Pick a number between 1 and 10: _______.

Find your number below. This is a list of Lingo-istic phrases to use in your story (with translations in parentheses to make sure you use them properly).

List of Lingo-istics

Find your number here. This is a list of Lingo-istic phrases to use in your story.

  1. Trucker: Big A (Amarillo, Texas); Antler Alley (deer crossing); Wally World (Wal-Mart); Bear in the Air (police in helicopter); Big Slab (interstate); Crotch Rocket (motorcycle); Salt Shaker (snow plow); Taking Pictures (police using radar)

  2. Cop: A&B (assault and battery); FTA (failing to appear for court appearance); SO (sheriff’s office); Side B (left side of building); GSW (gunshot wound); BOLO (be on the lookout); ATL (attempt to locate)

  3. Advertising: Doorbuster (limited item discounted to entice shoppers to a store); Shelf Shout (product parts that grab consumers’ attention); Litter on a Stick (billboards); Hard Eight (holiday season at the end of the calendar year)

  4. Prisoner: Dump Truck (lawyer who makes a deal at the expense of a client); Bean Chute (slot for food trays); Chalking (running interference while a mate breaks a rule); Badge (correctional officer); Cellie (cellmate); Bo-Bos (tennis shoes)

  5. Geek: Chips and Salsa (chips = hardware, salsa = software); Link Rot (obsolete links from Web sites); Cube Farm (office filled with cubicles); Egosurfing (scanning the net for your own name); Keyboard Plaque (gook on a keyboard); Plug-and-Play (a new hire who doesn’t need training); High Dome (an egghead or a person with a Ph.D.)

  6. Restaurant: The Pit (dish area); On the Fly (needed ASAP); Campers (party that stays for a long time); Coupon (cheap customer); Alley Rally (meeting before a shift begins); Hockey Puck (well-done burger); Back of the House (kitchen)

  7. Cowboy: Dude (city slicker); John B (Stetson hat); Cookie (camp cook); Chuck-eater (young guy from the East who comes west to learn the ropes); Code of the West (a gentleman’s agreement)

  8. Text Messaging: IDK (I don’t know); PEEPS (people); NOOB (new person); PEBCAK (Problem exists between chair and keyboard); PAW (parents are watching); ADN (any day now); AFK (away from keyboard); BFN (bye for now)

  9. Australian: Earbashing (non-stop chatter); Maccas (McDonald’s); Daks (trousers); Captain Cook (have a look); Botter (something that is excellent); Aerial Pingpong (Australian-rules football); Seppo (an American)

  10. 1920s–1930s: Altar (toilet or toilet bowl); Wire (a pickpocket); Egg (guy whose girl pays for his dance hall ticket); Fly Ball (detective); Gravy (a profit); Hurry Buggy (police van); Jack Full of Money (wealthy man who spends it)

Now TAKE TEN minutes and WRITE!

TAKE TEN Take-Away

Write a thirty-second radio commercial to sell a remedy for writer’s block. Make sure you use lots of writer’s lingo to show that you understand the craft and can relate to the challenges your audience is facing. Write a commercial that would make you want to buy the remedy, too. If you ever find yourself faced with a bit of a block, pull out this commercial and "sell" yourself the remedy.

Next: Listing Writing Exercise

©2009 Bonnie Neubauer. All rights reserved.