I noticed something as I have been reading some newer YA Fantasies. There's this word we all use, and more and more I have noticed it creeping into the language of fantasy lads and lasses: Okay.
For example (hypothetical and not taken from anyone else):
Flora dodged the flames of the behemoth dragon, landing hard on her stomach in the cold, wet earth.
Tristan rushed to her side. "Are you okay?"
"I think so," she replied, putting a hand to her head.
Now, this is a great word. I use it gratuitously myself, and the temptation to use it in my fantasy books is almost too overwhelming. But I am a firm believer that "okay" just does not have a place in those other worlds. On a personal note, it kind of irks me!
I know what you're thinking. It's my world! I can have them say what I want to.
And yes, okay, that's true. You could have them say, "Gee wilikers, Flora!" if you wanted to. But the reason we don't is because these worlds are often meant to resemble medieval time periods. And these phrases were coined quite recently. I realize there are many words that were made more recently than the medieval period--most of our vocabulary probably--but modern expressions like "okay" take you out of the world, if you ask me. And that goes for other modern cliches like "from the other side of the tracks" or "she was tired of taking a backseat."
Young adults are intelligent enough to understand prose without those modern expressions, and this is just my opinion, but I don't think we need them! We're writers. We're pretty dang creative, right?
So if you want to (because hey, this is just my personal thing, and most people probably don't care if the word is used or not!) here are a few substitutes for "okay" that I have found work just as well, while still keeping the world kind of organic:
What are your thoughts on okay? Yes, no? Leave me alone, Alyssa, and mind your own writing business? Do you have any other substitutes you would add?
**As a grammatical disclaimer, I realize that the validity of the word "alright" is sometimes contested, but the connotations of "alright" and "all right" really do seem to make a difference, at least to me. So use your best judgment on that one!**