Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The Superromance thread on eHarlequin.com is a favorite stop for me. The girls offer a huge range of topics that sometimes really make me think. Which isn't hard to do considering I'd rather not...it hurts. LOL. jk. Anyhoo...one of the subjects brought up lately was language. I can't quite remember what started the discussion but many chimed in with their opinions. Which was actually nice because some were very forthcoming with admitting to the fact that they have a potty mouth. Unfortunately I had to raise my hand. I really try hard not to because it's hard telling a 4 yo he can't say something at school or in public when he hears it spoken often at home. My 13 yo is at an age where they are trying them out at school...Grrr. Oh well. I can only pray and do my best.

But. I heard bad words growing up and my husband used to be really bad...he heard them quite often in his home growing up...hmmm a trend maybe? I wouldn't dare use them in public but I began to look through my manuscript. They were peppered occasionally throughout and only used in anger. One of the girls online is an author for the Harlequin Blaze line and says she uses them to heighten sexual tension. Hmmm...it's probably not as acceptable in many lines but what do you think? I had a few in my ms but began taking them out with the thought...I don't want to offend anyone. I know I will eventually, somehow ~ someway. I've read them in books and it never bothered me but we're bad about using them. Would they offend you? If used sparingly? What about if they dropped the "F" bomb?


Chicki said...

I don't use profanity personally, but I think using it in a story depends on the character. As long as you're not writing inspirational, you have to write what is authentic for that character.

Recently my agent submitted one of my manuscripts to an inspirational publisher that included a prison scene. In her rejection letter the editor mentioned that one of the characters (not the hero) swore. I had to laugh at that. What would hardened criminals say? After talking to several inspirational authors online, they suggested I just say something like, "He swore," or "curses flew from his mouth."

Jennifer Shirk said...

Do they swear in SuperRomances? I read a few but I don't remember.

I, personally, don't like it for a main character, but I wouldn't be offended.

In certain books it does add a sense of realism, like Chicki said. Take Michael Connolly books: you have a cop dealing with criminals and stuff and things like that are going to be flying out of people's mouths. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Chelle!! I didn't know you had a blog!

A little reality never offends me - but I don't like characters that cuss like sailors. We're all human and things slip now and then though. I've been paying more attention to my own characters and writing since the discussion and I've noticed that mine tend to only think the bad words, not really say them much. So far anyway. Not that I'd care if they did let one slip now and then. I really think it's up to the character and the situations. And I really don't like the F bomb. LOL. In reading or real life.

Chelle Sandell said...

Chicki~Thats so funny about the prison cursing. I agree about situation. They talk about character development but how better to describe guys in prison...

Jennifer~LOL yes I've seen occasional curse words but not a bunch. I think like Chicki said, it depended on authenticity of the character they were trying to portray.

Tammy!!! Yes ma'm...a bunch of girls from my crit group had blogs and I couldn't resist. Plus I get to rant without interruption!! LOL. I love your website cover page. So cute...so I found your blog and enjoyed how you mentioned tracking your ms. Good luck girl...got my appendages crossed for you!

Patricia W. said...

Chelle, I prefer not to read profanity because I don't use it.

I read books with profanity in them. Pretty much what everyone else has said.

But I've also read books where profane words were not used but the author, through actions and emotions, conveyed what the character might want to say. I like these books better than those that simply throw in the profanity.

Chelle Sandell said...

My mother and MIL are like that Patricia and sometimes mom will get irritated and put a book down. Most of the time she can tolerate it though.