Profanity or Confanity?
Curses! Foiled again!
I am a self-described “Author of All Ages.” For this reason, I have decided to keep this blog relatively clean. Does that mean I will never drop an F-Bomb or discuss sensitive topics that should not land on virgin ears? I very well may. If that be the case, I will make a note at the top of the entry that states, to effect, “The following nonsense contains graphic language, sexuality, scenes of degradation, etc. Viewer discretion advised.” At which point, 99 percent of readers will ignore it and either read on because not that many people really truly care about profanity, or they’ll bow out because, well, they just aren’t interested in the topic at hand. Whatever it may be.
Actually, there are quite a lot of us that don’t approve of profanity. You should do your research.
I’m sure that is true. However, if you are a fan of the written word, you no doubt have encountered so-called foul language in your readings. If you are not a fan of the written word, then what the heck are you doing here?
See? “Heck.” In certain situations, the word can appear silly. I believe the above is one example of that. I could have very well written - brace yourselves - “If you are not a fan of the written word, then what the Hell are you doing here?” That would have been should have been fine, right? I’ve actually never understood the stigma surrounding the word “Hell.” Yes, according to Christian lore, it is most assuredly the absolute worst place in the, um, cosmos? But were you to conjure the word for literary purposes or even casual conversation, that doesn’t mean you condone what goes on down there. What with all the poking and prodding and peeling. It’s no appealing way to spend the rest of eternity’s lazy Sunday afternoons.
We All Read in a PG-13 Submarine
Contrary to everything I’ve just spouted, my debut novel has a fair amount of potty-mouthed language in it. Then again, it’s a novel for mature adults soooo… yeah. If you don’t like the sauce, don’t eat the pasta.
But the pasta is so good, you guys! I may be biased.
I think one of the great contributors to the popularity of Young Adult (YA) novels these days is that many Adult Adult readers are devouring them faster than authors can crank them out! This does not give license for YA writers to swear willy-nilly. Though I’m sure many teens curse like sailors in their comfortable cliques, the responsible YA novelist should not use that as an excuse to bring out the baddies.
I have a few books for adolescents in my writing drawer. I intend to return to them soon and polish them to perfection before publishing. If I’m being honest, I can’t recall whether there is any casual cursing in the works. I do know there is quite a bit in the first draft of this new YA book I am writing. But that’s just it—it’s a draft. And it doesn’t get much draftier than a first draft. I find that when I am writing a first draft I just want to get the ideas out as fast as possible before they turn to dust in the wind. If that means that my characters have to call each other “dirty &$^s” or scream “^$@*” when they stub their toe, then so be it. That will all be addressed in subsequent revisions.
Language can be a beautiful thing if you let it. But it takes work. That’s just one of a million reasons why this art of ours is also a craft. Though it’s always easier to use the poo word than to make pretty word music, in the end, isn’t the latter always a more fulfilling achievement?
Then again, should you have a character who is of age and lives in the realistic world we’ve created for ourselves, he’s probably gonna be a dirty birdie from time to time. So what’re ya gonna do? These writers today and their potty mouths! I feel like even J.K. Rowling had a whopper of a swear in Deathly Hollows. Did I dream that? I’m probably thinking of “mudblood,” which is foul enough.
Back before I had my final manuscript of I Am Marcus Fox copy edited, I did a scan of approximately 97,000 words. In said scan, 148
F-Bombs were found. Is that too many? Not enough? Is it money? The Goldilocks amount? You know, I’ve read the story of the blonde-headed girl breaking and entering on the Bears’ cottage countless times to my daughter. It’s admirable that Goldilocks doesn’t curse. If I was ever confronted by three bears in their home in the woods, I know I’d be spitting out profanities left and right for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, ah! Why is a family of bears living like humans? Why are they eating porridge?! Ah!
Curse Your Curses
Profanity is a funny thing. Quite literally. The first time my 3-year-old daughter said the F word, I thought I was gonna die. I had to leave the room to laugh. Kids cursing when they’re that young is hilarious! I don’t care who you are, it’s funny. But we shouldn’t encourage it, right? I break out into cold sweats imagining her blowing off steam in her early education class.
“These *&^%ing blocks don’t work!”
“OK, I don’t know why or how your blocks don’t work. They’re blocks. But I think we need to call your father.”
Noooo! C’mon, man. It’s not my fault, Teacher! It’s the *&^%ing Bubble Guppies! That Gil is always *&^% cursing!
Mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm.
The point is (I think) that I can keep a steady bloggy without succumbing to coarser language. I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to impart any wisdom. Not yet anyway. Perhaps that will come. If I ever learn something, I may just let you in on it. So we all have that to look forward to.
Abrupt &*$%ing ending!