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Bulletin Board > To Swear or Not To Swear. You Decide . . .

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message 1: by Lilo (last edited Apr 21, 2015 06:57PM) (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Take the poll!

SWEAR WORDS IN URBAN FANTASY / PARANORMAL ROMANCE BOOKS?
I just checked my reviews today and saw a new one came in addressing swear words. The reader writes,

"I like that you told a great story and you didn't have to use curse words. Thank you for that."

This isn't the first time I've received this comment and I love that readers are communicating their thoughts on this. However, this wasn't really a goal of mine when I wrote the book. I'm not pro or con swear words. I'm fine with them when they fit the story . . . (Click here for the poll and the combined results: http://bit.ly/1J5imrp)


message 2: by Jim (last edited Apr 21, 2015 05:18PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments Swear words used in dialog are appropriate if in line with a character's personality or persona. They are considered less appropriate in the narration, unless it is a first-person narrative and fits with the narrating character's personality.

What is considered proper and improper regarding written language, as with everything else, changes with the times and differs from one culture to another.

J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was considered shocking and crass by some critics when released in 1945 due to the abundance of grammatical and language faux pas. However, it became an international best-seller and is considered a literary classic today.

I believe that an author should write whatever he feels like writing at any given time. Like any other art form, writing must occasionally slip the bonds of social constriction in order to adequately interpret the artist's true intent and feelings.


message 3: by Lilo (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Thank you for your thoughtful comment Jim. The Catcher in the Rye is a great analogy.


message 4: by Groovy (last edited Apr 21, 2015 08:46PM) (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments I may be one of the last few left, but I think you can write a realistic novel without it being filled with profanity. I'm not ashamed to say that if a book or movie is filled with them, I'm turned off (it's just the way I grew up--thank-goodness). Just because I, or the people I hang around, don't use profanity in every sentence we utter doesn't mean we're not real people.

I may, like it's been mentioned, use a mild cuss word like hell or damn in a book I'm writing if it's appropriate for the situation, but that's as far as I'll go, and I won't riddle the book with them. And yet it seems, a book filled with such words will do a lot better on the market.

I chalk it up to the world's morals. Years ago, hell and damn would have been met with shocking gasps. Now? Hard-core four-letter words don't even raise an eyebrow.

I love being able to read something without being assaulted with the f-bomb. I think it takes real creativity to be able to write a book and make the characters realistic without having to be offended by the written word. It seems Lilo was able to.


message 5: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments No, Dusty, they weren't aimed at you. You didn't offend me, honestly. I'm just saying I'm one of those few who chooses not to be entertained by profanity even though the majority do, and I'm proud of it, that's all.

I didn't mean to make you think that--I'm the one who's sorry. Come back:)


message 6: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash I have to admit, I throw the F-bomb around from the get go, because there are much worse things in my writing than some curse words. They act more as a warning than anything.


message 7: by Lee (new)

Lee Cushing | 81 comments I've always held the belief that strong language should only be used to deliver an impact and if used too frequently it becomes just another word that lacks that impact.


message 8: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash There's definitely a time and place.


message 9: by Lilo (last edited Apr 22, 2015 12:32AM) (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Groovy, I think there is a misperception that my book doesn't contain any swear words. As I think about why that is, I come up with this. The book is written in first person present tense with dual perspectives. The main character's perspective takes up 70% of the book (Bluebell Kildare). Her boss, the hero, takes up the other 30%. Blue only says soft swear words, such as "Holy cow, Holy smokes, and cripes." My theory is that it is far more important what your main character does than the other characters. Because she avoids the hard swear words, people perceive her as being clean and the book as being clean. Perhaps this is because the reader most connects to or identifies with her.

Though the other characters do swear, admittedly they don't say the really hard swear words. It would seem out of place to me as they connect with Blue through work, so some professional demeanor must be observed.


message 10: by Lily (new)

Lily Luchesi (lilyluchesi) | 8 comments Well, I think it depends. I don't dislike a book or like one depending on if the character's swear. It's really a case-by-case basis. I read a book about war once, and knowing people in war and how a lot of vets talk in real life, having them say "darn" instead of "damn" or "fudge" instead of "fuck" made the experience very unauthentic.

On the other hand, if I read "fuck" or anything worse than "shit" in a YA book, I'd be turned off.

I wrote a short story about real twnty-somethings in Los Angeles, one was Goth and the other was a musician. Both types of people generally swear, so I made them swear. But yet I had someone tear the story apart because I made them swear.

It is a personal opinion, but some stories do call for profanity. As a writer, you have to do what feels natural to the story and the characters. Don't worry if your mom will read it, or if a Christian might not like it, for example. Write your story YOUR way. There will always be people who don't like SOMETHING about your book. Look at people like Stephen King, he says some things that made ME blush, but he's one of the biggest authors in the world. Opposite, look at Nicholas Sparks. He is in the same position in the world but doesn't use curse words.

Also, not cursing doesn't mean your characters or stories are "clean". I could say "socially acceptable" things and then write a brutal murder scene.


message 11: by Lilo (last edited Apr 22, 2015 12:57AM) (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Lily, My book is absolutely not clean. :) I have explicit sex and graphic torture. Which makes it all the more interesting that people perceive it as clean.


message 12: by Lily (new)

Lily Luchesi (lilyluchesi) | 8 comments Lilo wrote: "Lily, My book is absolutely not clean. :) I have explicit sex and graphic torture. Which makes it all the more interesting that people perceive it as clean."

Precisely my point. Cursing is NOT the worst thing you can add to your book, yet it's a number one topic on what makes a book clean or not. Yet I've read books where nothing graphic happens yet there's swearing, so people say it's "unclean" or "unfit" for a YA or NA audience.
People's perspectives have been warped by simple words.


message 13: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 276 comments depends on the characters speaking and their personality types. i have one who curses like a sailor due to his harsh upbringing, another uses softer blue words. some dont curse at all. others might have only a few they use (one only used hell and damn only in extreme situations),
also depends on book type. i have a police procedural set in this weird universe (gives off a 70s cop show vibe) and its my first book with *no swearing* not even mild. the only oddity is the dated slang (especially by the gangsters - sound like hoods from the 30s.


message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Stuart | 108 comments Groovy wrote: "I may be one of the last few left, but I think you can write a realistic novel without it being filled with profanity. I'm not ashamed to say that if a book or movie is filled with them, I'm turned..."

Profanity is, mostly, nothing but a cop out. I say "mostly" because some characters simply wouldn't be realistic if they never swore.

I actually gave a hero a very good reason to dislike swearing and, as a result, his family don't either, except when feeling rebellious.

"Jaws" isn't really my kind of film but I watched it, enjoyed it, and looked out for the next. I lasted ten minutes into Jaws 2 simply because every other word seemed to be sh*t, and it went on that way. (My husband gave it half an hour before he switched off.)

I don't think either of us are narrow-minded (check out my book if you think I might be) bur I see no reason for the constant use of words like that.


message 15: by Zara-jo (new)

Zara-jo Palmer | 30 comments Lilo wrote: "Lily, My book is absolutely not clean. :) I have explicit sex and graphic torture. Which makes it all the more interesting that people perceive it as clean."

You mean they call it clean because the characters don't swear? Your own description doesn't make it sound clean to me.

I agree with what seems to be coming over as the general view - characters should behave in character - I would be put off by inappropriate bad language but not if was used by someone I would expect to use it.

I think the sample chapters should include - or exclude - obscene language - not leave a reader to buy the book and be shocked later. The same with sex - if it's going to be graphic include a scene in the first couple of chapters.

I'm a reader not a writer!


message 16: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) Annie Wilkes would disapprove of any book that contained curse words. ;)

Swearing doesn't bother me if it's organic to the story (though it does bother me if the author thinks it's organic and it's really just overused). Lack of curse words don't bother me, either.


message 17: by Lilo (last edited Apr 22, 2015 08:41AM) (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Zara-jo wrote: "Lilo wrote: "Lily, My book is absolutely not clean. :) I have explicit sex and graphic torture. Which makes it all the more interesting that people perceive it as clean."

You mean they call it cl..."


Zaro-jo, I mean that some people perceive my book as clean, even though it really isn't. I can only guess it is because the heroine/main character doesn't swear and has a strong moral code. I suspect that the way your main character behaves casts a stronger light through which readers perceive the book than any other character.

I don't have explicit sex in the first few chapters, because it really only happens rarely through the book. But I do place a warning on my book description that states boldly that the book contains explicit sex and graphic violence. My hope is to warn readers away from my book if they don't like these things. I don't want unhappy customers.


message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Stuart | 108 comments Lilo wrote: "Zara-jo wrote: "Lilo wrote: "Lily, My book is absolutely not clean. :) I have explicit sex and graphic torture. Which makes it all the more interesting that people perceive it as clean."

You mean..."


I'd be interested to know how you included the warning in the description without using a spoiler,


message 19: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 276 comments if you have to slap warning labels on books that it contains strong language explicit sex and violence then what's next more censorship and bowdlerization? why is there this great need to sanitise literature? books are supposed to mind expanding and boundary pushing. i tend to ignore complaints that my stuff is weird dark and violent. you cant please everyone and no need to pull out your hair doing it. write the story how it's meant to be told. if those with sensitive sensibilities have a heart attack, its their problem.


message 20: by Lilo (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Sarah wrote: "Lilo wrote: "Zara-jo wrote: "Lilo wrote: "Lily, My book is absolutely not clean. :) I have explicit sex and graphic torture. Which makes it all the more interesting that people perceive it as clea..."

Simple. Below my book teaser I say:

Contains explicit sex and graphic violence.


message 21: by Jim (last edited Apr 22, 2015 11:50AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments K.P. wrote: "if you have to slap warning labels on books that it contains strong language explicit sex and violence then what's next more censorship and bowdlerization? why is there this great need to sanitise ..."

An astute observation, K.P.. Censorship at any time for any reason is a slippery slope that usually ends badly.

What is considered unwholesome or improper during one time period or in one culture may be considered entirely acceptable in another.

There is one form of censorship that hurts no one and is extremely effective. It is called independence. A reader, viewer, or listener may choose that which he/she wishes to read, view, or listen and that which he/she does not. As long as one's choices do no harm to anyone else, freedom of choice should be respected and protected.


message 22: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash I thought about putting a parental advisory sticker on my cover.


message 23: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2163 comments I actually wrote a blog post about this very subject. I feel there's a time and place for it.

http://jbienvenue.webs.com/apps/blog/...-


message 24: by Lilo (last edited Apr 22, 2015 12:06PM) (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments K.P. wrote: "if you have to slap warning labels on books that it contains strong language explicit sex and violence then what's next more censorship and bowdlerization? why is there this great need to sanitise ..."

I think you are using a slippery slope argument here that I personally don't feel fits the situation. Explaining what is in your book is not the same as sanitizing it. In fact, it is the opposite. When you sanitize your book you are altering your book for your audience. When you label your book you are altering your audience for your book.

I honestly don't want someone who dislikes explicit sex to read my book. Why? Because they will give me a bad review and my rating makes me money. It makes far more money than the amount I'd earn from their one book purchase.

Hiding the fact that it has explicit sex would be like Barnes and Noble saying they don't want people know that Hazelnut is in their coffee, because they don't care if the customers like Hazelnut. Maybe we can force them to like Hazelnut by making them drink it accidentally. It is bad business and it won't work. Maybe you get one purchase out of them, maybe you convert a few, but you piss off a lot of customers as your price.

I don't want my readers to feel uncomfortable. If someone hates your book, they are not likely to learn much at all. They will read in a state of disbelief or unhappiness.

You can expand people's minds with books. But I find it unlikely that you would expand their minds greatly. I think it is far more likely that you would push them a little further at the edge. You might give a liberal heterosexual an erotic fascination with a simple homosexual kiss, for instance. But I doubt you are going to convert a prude into an erotica fan with one book.

Anyway, those are the reasons I am upfront with what is in my writing.


message 25: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments Sarah wrote: "Groovy wrote: "I may be one of the last few left, but I think you can write a realistic novel without it being filled with profanity. I'm not ashamed to say that if a book or movie is filled with t..."

Exactly, Sarah;

But, I guess I'm the extreme. If someone wants to talk to me and they're the type that throws out the F-bombs and the s*** bombs one after the other, I would stop them and ask them to please watch the four-letter words, because they are offensive to me.

One of my favorite movies WAS the Die-Hard series. I taped them from television during the VCR days. Well, when that died, I bought them. Was I in for a shock! I really had no idea that the F-bomb was in every sentence! I had to stop watching. The only one I can watch now is the last one where there's no F-bomb and maybe one cuss word (my favorite one now)

And yet, my other favorite series is the Jason Borne movies. No cuss words at all, but still manages to get the plots across very well--How CREATIVE--and how thankful I am that I can watch it over and over. It just shows that you can write effective, suspenseful, believable touch characters without resorting to constant profanity.

In some of my books, when a mild cuss word is appropriate, (I admit to hell or damn you) I use it, but not constantly. Or I may write the sentence to show that the character said it, but you don't hear the word come out of his mouth.


message 26: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2163 comments I remember being in a Poetry group a few years back on here and this guy posted his poetry and he used swears in them. First off, being a poet myself I don't find swears appropriate in poems to begin with and if your going to be quick and light about it. Getting to my point however, this guy's poems had countless swears that weren't necessary, were clearly thrown in just so he could use them and overall the theme of the poem was tasteless.

My point: If your to swear at least have the decency to have it necessary and worth putting in there, don't do it because you think your cool or to add shock value.


message 27: by Lilo (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Justin wrote: "I actually wrote a blog post about this very subject. I feel there's a time and place for it.

http://jbienvenue.webs.com/apps/blog/...-"


Thank you for sharing that Justin.


message 28: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments The reality is, some people in the real world swear. I would feel pretty silly writing "well, golly darn it" or "oh shucky geez" whenever a character needed to swear. Some here are saying that it's not creative to let your characters swear. Fine. But, I'll continue letting my characters be who they are instead of creatively changing their words to, "Come back here and fight, you silly old fuddy duddy". Because, you know, that's how people really talk. Fiddly doo da.


message 29: by D.C. (new)

D.C. | 327 comments Abigail wrote: "Annie Wilkes would disapprove of any book that contained curse words. ;)

Swearing doesn't bother me if it's organic to the story (though it does bother me if the author thinks it's organic and it..."


Organic is key. Gratuitous profanity is beside the point, and can often seem lazy. Language and attitudes towards it are one of the ways to illuminate character.

The always terrific Chuck Wendig had a blog post/flash fiction prompt on the subject after the "Clean Reader" flap. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/... I did write a piece in response to the prompt, but I'm never sure if it's appropriate to link or not.


message 30: by Bruce (new)

Bruce E. | 159 comments My book "Pygmalion Conspiracy" mostly takes place 195,000 tears ago. Who knows how characters at that time would have spoken. However, they must speak English in the book, They don't swear. It would seem artificial plus I think it would show a lack of ability by the author (me) to express anger and negative emotion to fall back on common slang. There is sex, but none really explicit. Almost all readers can supply details that have meaning to them. Unless the style of sex is an important characteristic of the character, I see no reason to constrain the reader. For some characters swearing does help to paint a character, but again when it doesn't let threader paint in the swear words he/she finds appropriate.


message 31: by Shaun (new)

Shaun (shaun2014) | 11 comments As a reader (I'm not an author) cursing or lack of cursing doesn't even cross my mind. I just don't notice it's use or lack of use. I suppose I would if it were completely out of context, like in a children's book. I honestly couldn't tell you if the last 10 books I read had any form of cursing in them or not and/or to what extent.

I think it's one of those things where if you are looking for it, you're going to notice it. If something bothers you, you are more likely to speak out when it's there and more likely to speak out when it isn't there. But, I would argue, you are more likely to hear about it when it bothers someone.


message 32: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments "Nothing is neither good nor bad. Thinking makes it so."
Shakespeare, Hamlet


message 33: by L.F. (new)

L.F. Falconer | 92 comments As with anything else, if swearing is appropriate for the story, use it. But keep in mind, a little bit goes a long way. And it might be just the thing to allow one character to say "gosh darn," while his sidekick freely tosses out the F-word. If it works, it works. But I don't believe profanity should be added just for the sake of profanity. And it might not be realistic to eliminate it entirely, either. In one of my novels, one of my characters uses the f-word a lot...or should I say, one of his personalities uses it a lot. And while there is some graphic sex and violence in the books as well, that one personality is the only one who really swears.


message 34: by D.B. (last edited Apr 22, 2015 08:32PM) (new)

D.B. Woodling | 70 comments Perceived impending judgment is an author's greatest ENEMY. We mustn't censor our characters for the acceptance of a few.


message 35: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments L.F. wrote: "As with anything else, if swearing is appropriate for the story, use it... But I don't believe profanity should be added just for the sake of profanity... In one of my novels, one of my characters uses the f-word a lot... And while there is some graphic sex and violence in the books..."

D.B. wrote: "Perceived impending judgment is an author's greatest ENEMY. We mustn't censor our characters for the acceptance of a few."

Agreed. I'm working on a novel about teenagers in the 1980s. I grew up at that time and did the kind of work the characters in my stories are doing. Some of the characters swear a little, some not at all. But, there are a few that are angry with the world, rebellious, hostile and brutal. I knew a few kids like that back then and many of them swore. So, my characters with similar attitudes swear.

If authors are to start censoring our characters and not letting them speak the way they want, what's next? Do we take the sex and violence out, too? Any act of dishonesty could be offensive. Any act of greed could be offensive. If we start removing everything that could offend someone, there won't be much left of the story.


message 36: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 276 comments i dont think it's slippery slope territory. i just feel it's a bit outrageous having to tell folks what's in the book without discovery for themselves. let them tell their friends. it's like having to put on the back saying this book is (genre) about (overall plot) and also has (coarse language, sex, violence).

lately i've noticed a books coming out with these discretionary warnings. whatever happened to just a simple blurb to interest the reader? i dont quite believe it's a matter of catering to potential audience who want to avoid such - it seems to be cowing to moral majority censorship rules. if all one cares about are good reviews and ratings and always afraid of irking someone, then why bother in the first place? why stifle your voice? why fret that your book may be perceived in a negative light? who comes up with these rules proclaiming so many of an amount is "excessive" or too crude or crass? the mere idea... i shudder. but if that is what you feel to be right, that's ok. im not trying to argue or pick a fight. im just saying why should one worry about the matter? is it a matter of general acceptance?
just look a bit deeper and reflect on it, is all...


message 37: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Stuart | 108 comments K.P. wrote: "if you have to slap warning labels on books that it contains strong language explicit sex and violence then what's next more censorship and bowdlerization? why is there this great need to sanitise ..."

Writing is all about pushing boundaries, and reading or not reading a book is a free choice. I wish readers would exercise that choice. Returning a book, if they've gone as far as buying it, is fine by me. Posting a review that gives away the plot is sheer spite, against other potential readers more than the author since critical reviews result in a sales surge.

I don't actually set out, as accused by one reviewer, to draw readers into a love story purposely to offend them. Why on earth would I? Neither do people who write good reviews set out to mislead: each is one opinion, take it or leave it, and I've had reviews that blamed other reviewers!

I don't enjoy constantly repeated profanity: it's boring. I use little or none for some characters and more for others, but nothing too obscene, and that is my choice. I push the boundaries with taboo sex.

I was curious to know how one author made it clear what the book contained... violence etc... because on Amazon UK there are no questions about those subjects. There are on Amazon Com, as I've found when I've posted reviews. There's even one about the standard of the writing, What Amazon do with the answers I have no idea.


message 38: by Lilo (last edited Apr 23, 2015 02:57AM) (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments K.P. wrote: "it's like having to put on the back saying this book is (genre) about (overall plot) and also has (coarse language, sex, violence)."

I have to say that I wish more authors would do this. (well not the plot part) I picked up a Romance book recently. I spent two hours getting to the wedding night and then instead of sex, the couple goes to bed and wakes up. I felt like the best part was missing. I immediately stopped reading the book.

I don't care for erotica myself, but I do like some explicit sex in my romance books. This was a waste of my money and time. Having to surf reviews for this information is a waste of my time. I'm 44 years old and I know what I want. How much nicer it would be if it were more easily found.

I don't think of it as a warning against books. I think of it more as an explanation of what the product offers.

Censorship is when someone requires that you not write something. That is entirely different from writing what you want and then telling the world a little about what you wrote, so the readers who want that, can find you.

Actually based on the poll so far, more people like some harsh swear words, so putting that in your description is more likely to get a reader than not. But either way, I like for readers to be well matched with the writing, whatever their desires.


message 39: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 276 comments that's what im trying to wrap my head around sarah. i know most dont like swears some tolerate few, (i'm a sailor myself so i tend to glass over). i just wanted to point out it's gotten to the point where books are getting labels now and i find it simply horrifying. i have noticed that too, with reviewers seemingly ripping into books they dont like because something irked them so end over end and it's become a jockeying contest as to who can produce the most scathing burn, in an attempt to gain some glorified popularity points. (im lucky to get any review, scathing or not).
anyways, im concerned authors are going to start worrying about causing offence to johnny reader and start culling wildly until its so heavily edited it smacks of class a ultrageneric - though easy to
swallow and leaves no bad aftertaste.

however, i know swears have their place and can be overused to absurdity or the author hasnt read enough to insert a more qualifying modifier, but doing a kitchen sink edit where it's totally considered clean considered overboard? can that hurt what's being conveyed? would it change the overall tone? something to think about...


message 40: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 276 comments i see what you mean lilo. i don't know though if listing what the reader may expect would sully the experience, as searching for books by theme is something i find odd (saying "i want a book about a,b, and c themes because reason" has me going wut. i tend to go by genre and hope for the best).

is it due to instant gratification? or is it readers get caught up on satisfying specific desires and demand such? or is it they dont have time to read (!!) and rather pull out whats comfortable and use these thematic tags as a filter? is this a new trend?

someone shed some light please?


message 41: by Bruce (new)

Bruce E. | 159 comments I think a book needs a story that flows. I object to any thing that gives yo the feeling that the story is going on hold for the author to tell you something or to have a "now we pause to have sex." Swearing doesn't interrupt so much and it doesn't bother me except when I feel it's being used to cover bad writing.


message 42: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments Lilo wrote: "K.P. wrote: "it's like having to put on the back saying this book is (genre) about (overall plot) and also has (coarse language, sex, violence)."

I have to say that I wish more authors would do th..."


I agree with you, Lilo, books should have some description as to what a reader can expect as regards language, sex, etc.,

I write wholesome, passionate romances. There are love scenes, but only between the married couples, and it's not graphic. But I didn't bother to include that description anywhere when I began publishing my books. So, when readers saw the covers, they thought I wrote along the lines of erotica. Then one forum member said that she couldn't tell whether or not my books were clean because I didn't mention it. (thank-you)

So, I make sure that at the top of my synopsis', I make it clear that these are wholesome romances. And if readers go to my author website or profile page here, they are told the same.

When I did that, the reviews started to change from disappointment that it wasn't what they thought, to good reviews from those readers who were looking for wholesome and clean.


message 43: by Lilo (last edited Apr 23, 2015 01:42PM) (new)

Lilo Abernathy (lilo_abernathy) | 68 comments Groovy wrote: "When I did that, the reviews started to change from disappointment that it wasn't what they thought, to good reviews from those readers who were looking for wholesome and clean."

Exactly! It is a win win for both author and reader.

I want to write a moderate amount of explicit sex. I want readers who want a moderate amount of explicit sex. You want to write clean romance. You want readers who want clean romance.

We both get to write what we want and readers get to read what they want.


message 44: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments Here! Here! :)


message 45: by Erik (new)

Erik | 14 comments I don't express myself with profanity, so I don't write with it either. No big deal. Free will...


message 46: by Bruce (new)

Bruce E. | 159 comments No one has mentioned the emotional emphasis that the word f&*& can
give. Frequently written dialogue suffers from lack of the emphasis verbal dialogue can give. Thus my character says" the Wisconsin Dells are beautiful." I as the reader can't always feel the emotional emphasis in the words. However, if my character says, "F&*&, the Wisconsin Dells are beautiful," it adds the emphasis that a verbal statement can give.


message 47: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 276 comments it was an interesting exercise. i don't know how folks will react reading my output as it doesnt fit neatly to strict guidelines (i looked for books with the same parameters as mine. they dont exist -_-. i get that my works are "unique" & "different" often. more of the case of wtf i just read as any than most...). the coarse language used by some characters are consistent given the situation and i have been told the dialogue sounds natural (a plus sure).
i can give a general overview what my books are about. but so far no real complaints about language or violence (those who know me know i write that sort of thing, those who don't hadn't mentioned it as an issue).
so i guess this telling the reader what to expect is a new thing? i'd hate to tell the reader this is how they must feel reading such, as no two people will have the same reaction to a given situation.


message 48: by Micah (last edited Apr 23, 2015 03:02PM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) Quite honestly I get offended (OK, just a little) by people who act as if swear words don't exist in the real world or who try to police the universe on a quest to clean up the English (or whatever) language.

These words exist for a reason. People use them in real life. They have existed and have been in continuous use since the dawn of language. I don't understand the outrage.

Yes, we should teach our kids that profanity is not always appropriate. But it's not like reading a few bad words is going to screw them up for life. It doesn't make you a worse person for hearing them, or even saying them now and again.

In writing we should be free to express whatever is needed or is appropriate for the situation and characters...even if we would not use that language ourselves.

And some of the ridiculous over reactions I've read in book reviews makes me wonder how these anti-curse word crusaders get along in life. With cable TV and streaming video so ubiquitous today, you can barely turn on the television without hearing them. You'd really have to purposefully disconnect yourself from the world to avoid them. So why get so upset about it?

Now...all that said, overusing them in writing or TV or movies completely destroys their power and effectiveness. I'm looking at you, Tarantino. I feel sometimes people throw them in gratuitously to prove their badass bona fides. What it actually does is make you sound like a poser. No. You're not that cool.

These are words. Plain and simple. They have meaning and emotion and they need to be used effectively. They are part of our language, part of our heritage. If anything, they should be celebrated for what they are and what they let us express. But they're not going to go away. The world wouldn't really be a nicer place without them; people would still be mean and greedy and petty and selfish and ugly (and beautiful and loving and generous and caring...).

So I suggest we get over it and instead get outraged about war or poverty or destroying the planet or the price of bottled water or whether we really need more than 8 seasons of Big Bang Theory...You know, important stuff.


message 49: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments Why not: "Oh my God", the Wisconsin Dells are beautiful? Or express it in a way that the emotional emphasis is quite clear without having to resort to a word? If someone were standing next to me and said the "F" and S*** word to express delight, I would put some distance between us because that says a lot. I mean, really?


message 50: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) Groovy wrote: "Why not: "Oh my God", the Wisconsin Dells are beautiful?..."

If you do that, you'll get pounced on by the "do not take the name of my God in vain!" crowd.

It's true. I've seen it.


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