Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What The F***!?

So, I've been working on my rewrite and revision, critiquing and being critiqued and it brought something to my mind.
When I began my MS, I made sure my characters only said, I think, about one curse word each-I mean, Damn, was the extent of that. Problem is, my female MC is just like me. She curses, just as I do. When I say I curse, I mean...I cuss all the time. That's just who I am. It has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence or the desire to be "bad." There's a standing joke in my family
that I cuss more than an entire ship full of sailors. Used to it sort of bothered me, but then I thought-Yep, I sure do, oh well. Because no matter who likes it or doesn't like it, I won't change to please someone. I do my best to never use any curse words around my kids-I won't say it never happens, but I work very hard to try. Also, there are certain people I make sure to hold back around (ie-my Priest, or any other clergy members, teachers...) I may cuss more than my family, but we all cuss really. My great grandmother used to curse ALOT, to the point that my great grandpa couldn't stand her potty mouth. But regardless, 99% of my family uses curse words several times a day.

Back to my MS...I started my rewrite and decided to loosen up a bit, let my character be herself more. She has a few curse words here and there. But each time I write her cussing, I pause and think-will my readers be upset with the curse word. It's really holding me back. Problem is, she wants to cuss ALOT and from what I have read everywhere, that's not okay. Profanity in a book is okay, to an extent. You can have characters that cuss, as long as it isn't too much. So, how do you create the voice of a character that says-F-ing write me like I am, S. If there really something wrong with someone who says, damn S F all the time? S happens, that's life. You don't like how someone is oh F-ing well, get the F over it. ( Don't want to use the actual words in case my reader is a little younger) Point stays the same, my character is blunt, she cusses, and she does and says whatever she wants. I can't write her completely that way though, so I am stuck on how to do it.

Solution? I write my character how she is, I get into her POV and let her talk. But I tone her down a bit. I have to take her aside and say, Hey, I know you would like to drop a few F bombs, some S ones and more, but you can't. If you want people to hear your story, what you say has to be acceptable to them, sorry.
It's funny that you have to give your character their own voice, but take away some of their voice at the same time. That's how it is though. You write your story best you can, but you keep to the "rules" of writing. It may be difficult, but if it was easy, everyone would be a writer.


Angie Sandro said...

Yeah, I used to cuss a lot in my real life, mainly at work around friends. It's that kind of environment. I've been workng on cutting it out. My choice. I don't cuss around my kids. I don't want to set a bad example.

In my writing though, it depends on the character and the environment the story is set in. If it's appropriate for the character to cuss and the situation warrants it, I don't have a problem with it. But, I'm not offended by hearing or saying an F bomb ever once and a while.

Kela McClelland said...

Angie- Yeah, I agree on the bad example, but as long as the kiddos aren't around-my vocabulary tends to be a little, er, colorful :)
And with the writing, yes it depends on the character. Unless of course your character (like mine) wants to cuss a little too much for what would be considered "acceptable". Then you have to have a talk with the character and come to an agreement on how much is okay. I myself, have no problem with cussing in a book, no matter how much there is (aside from the C word, that word makes me cringe no matter how it's used).
Anyway-thanks for commenting (and following) :)