There's A Snark In the Water!

I'm not a very snarky person. Occasionally I have a rather dry or witty sense of humor, but, on the whole, I'm not a very funny person. I pretty much quit trying after my brother discovered the gift of humor, because he's...really good at it.

But snarky seems to be all the rage these days. Simon C. Larter says that snark is the "stock-in-trade" for most of us writers. Snarky heros, snarky heroines, snarky narrators. That's what the YA books are all about. Steph Bowe had one the best quotes this week, talking about "a very snarky narrator" in Conrad Wesselhoeft's Adios, Nirvana.
"But there was a lot of voice and a lot of attitude to this character, which I liked. He was no Bella Swan."
I wish I was snarky, or at least be able to write 'snarkily.' But the majority of what I write doesn't have that sort of voice. It's basic, it's slightly romantic and flowery, but mostly just...telling a story. And I'm beginning to wonder if it's boring. Do I write Bella Swans?

Maybe it all got beat out of me in English class. I'd be the last person on earth to diss an English class, but seriously - I spent too long being told not to use "I" "you" "me" "us" "we" unless we were writing in first-person. Is that where my first-person voice went? My snarkiness disappeared, because I can't write sentences like,
"Alice turned to see him trudging behind her, coatless, hatless, and gloveless, and scowled. While you couldn't count on younger brothers to take a hint and stay at home, you would think they would be able to tell that it was snowing outside before following you. And when it's snowing outside, you wear more than footie pajamas and a ratty Superman cape." - Something I made up on the spot for a snarky sample.
That paragraph breaks so many rules. It's third-person, second-person, past-tense, and present-tense, all in one. Yet somehow it's pretty easy to read. That confuses me. How can something that breaks so many rules be so relatable when you read it? (Another thing that I don't understand is italics. Should half of that paragraph be italicized because it's technically her thoughts? Or is that an editorial preference? And would I have to say "she thought" afterwards?)

I like rules. I really do. Every once in a while, I write snarky things for fun. Because it's really relaxing to write how I think instead of how I write. It's fun, but I never thought of actually doing something with it. (My most snarky story was actually, sneakily written in first-person who was basically telling the story from a later point in time. She referred to herself in the third-person and made fun of the main character, and I always wondered if readers would know that the narrator and the sub-character were the same.)

Maybe it's because I don't write very much first-person. I end up becoming too familiar with the reader, giving too many asides that have nothing to do with the story but everything to do with thoughts. Maybe I should try it more? Maybe I should do...snarky.

One of these days...snarky shall come.

It's funny, I've never seen the word snarky in any grammatically correct piece of literature. But I know exactly what it means without consulting Urban Dictionary. It's a lovely word, actually.

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