So I've been reading a lot of science fiction and dystopian this year. Something I've noticed that sets some books above others is the use of vocabulary.
I think each world that is different from our own, even in the slightest of ways, should have an operating vocab that the author can use. And that the reader can pick up on and relate to.
So how do you do this?
1. Be aware that such a need exists. It's okay to use familiar, but not commonplace, words. Does that make sense? For example, instead of saying "teacher," you might simply call the teachers in your word "educators." Sure, it means the same thing, but it signifies that your world has changed from this one to a futuristic one. Bonus: Readers don't have to work hard to figure out what you mean.
2. Even the simple things count. In a futuristic world, things have to appear changed. We run marathons now; they shouldn't run marathons in your post-apocalyptic society. You can use the same concept, but you should be aware of the vocabulary you create to portray it.
3. Beware the capitalized word. I often see novels with many capitalized words. It sort of marks the genre, especially for dystopias. I would simply caution to think long and hard about what should actually be capped, and what shouldn't.
What do you think? Have you read any science fiction lately that makes excellent use of vocabulary? I have, and I highly recommend BIRTHMARKED by Caragh M. O'Brien. It is fabulous.