Say what?

I had the hardest time the first time I joined a critique group back in 2004. I am not originally from the U.S. and I used words I was familiar with – like lounge (living room), queue (line), phone (call) – and my critique group didn’t like any of them. They said it took them out of the story. As soon as I explained the words they were okay with them. But this is the kind of thing that pulls a reader out of a story. As as a writer, you don’t want the reader to be pulled out of the story. You want them engrossed in every word – not wondering what on earth biltong is. (It’s like jerky, but less processed).
I’ve been in the US for over a decade and so has my character. Like me, her language has evolved. She now sits in her living room and makes calls, or stands in line at Starbucks for her latte. Once in a while she’ll say something that has other characters react with a questioning look, but mostly she toes the language line.
But does this make her more boring or more readable?
I’m still trying to decide….

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