Nerd Girl Problems in the Writing World


I love the current fascination with all things Geek. Being called a “Nerd” or a “Geek” used to be an insult. Today, it’s a badge of honour. I was looking for a “Nerd Girl Problem” meme to post (I love the one above – couldn’t resist!), and actually ran into memes and posts about not being enough of a REAL nerd. What?? If someone wants in the club, let them play! Jeez, what’s that about? Anyway…

My current WIP has Geek Chic references throughout, and I love them. That’s an understatement really. I L-O-V-E them. With a  capital LOVE. And while the current debacle over that stupid article about adults reading YA has convinced me whole-heartedly that one NEVER has to apologize for one’s passions (that’s a topic for a whole other post), I do feel a need explain this quirk of my book.

I have already been given a heads-up that my editor will be issuing notes in the not-so-positive form on these references to pop and geek culture, which is what started me thinking about why I need them in the first place. (I hired an editor… have I blogged about that?? I’m really behind.) And it turns out I not only love the references because I think they’re fun and entertaining and just, well, ME. I actually do have reasons behind them. Two pretty good reasons, I happen to think. And they are… ahem…

One) My book involves an element of time travel, which puts my narrative happening in an alternate timeline for a section of the book. Even MORE in the next book. Due to this, I love that my pop culture references pin her down to the current time when she is in the present. I feel like this helps to define BOTH timelines.

And Two) It’s part of my MC’s voice. These things are part of her world, part of her life. I personally don’t go a single day without quoting a movie, or referring to a tv show or book or song. I’m being careful in the book to stay within Public Use guidelines, but I still let her do this. To me that feels authentic to who she is. To remove them entirely or replace them with vague alternatives would be to completely change her voice. And THAT is non-negotiable for me.

So what are your thoughts? Does it take you out of the world you’re reading when you come across a reference like this, or does it further identify that world for you? I’ve heard both opinions… what’s yours?

2 thoughts on “Nerd Girl Problems in the Writing World”

  1. I like seeing references in books! For me, it makes it feel real, b/c I can identify w/it. And I like that you know this so strongly about your character- it sounds like she’s very well defined in your mind. And very cool that you’ve got an editor now!


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