Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG.
Alex's awesome co-hosts are Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!
October's question: In your writing, where to you draw the line, with either topics or language?
This is a good question. I write young adult novels that crossover for adult entertainment, which means I write lots of angst, emotion, feels, and kissing, and hopefully a good story to go along with those emotions. If it goes any further, which it has in a couple of my books, I don't get into specifics. I have read many YA books which have scenes that curl my toes, and we'd be ignorant not to believe, young adults are not having sex. Though, I am remiss to get into those details in my writings.
I do have swearing. The big F-word and others ~~ because if I'm being real, and being a teenager myself, many, many moons ago, teenagers swear. As an adult you are fooling yourself if you think young adults don't throw vile language around on a daily or weekly basis. I have toned it down because, personally, I rarely cuss.
Where do you draw the line?
Hi Cathrina! Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month. Your post made me think, because I wrote that the censor in me kicks in when I'm editing. The toe curling bits you talked about - I'm not very good at writing those either. I don't read many books these days with good (or even bad) sex scenes so presumed people are leaving those out. Which is a pity.ReplyDelete
Oh yes, they do cuss and they do have sex. I couldn't write a sex scene to save my life though, so I just avoid them.ReplyDelete
Thanks for co-hosting today!
Good points! Those teenagers! I do miss a good story that makes me feel like I'm breaking the rules just reading it! I definitely need to broaden my reading horizons.ReplyDelete
Thanks for co-hosting this month. I agree that teens swear, and I think some sweearing is okay in YA.ReplyDelete
Great post. As a teenager I would get frustrated when pieces felt too censored. When I read about teenagers to be flawed and pushing boundaries it spoke to me. Thank you for co-hosting!ReplyDelete
So true! Teens today are pretty much adults that just aren't legal yet. :D And they will connect to the realism you have in your books.ReplyDelete
Hello! Thank you for co-hosting. Well, yes, the real is more real than we think and if we draw too many lines we are probably far away from the truth.ReplyDelete
I think we're being very naive to think teens don't swear or have sex. I read a lot of middle grade & YA books. I want realism without preaching. But I also want an upbeat story. Thanks for cohosting this month.ReplyDelete
I guess some swearing is fine in YA.ReplyDelete
Living with two teenagers and a preteen, I can attest to the fact they do in fact use language LOL and they are getting to the point they forget to censor themselves when talking to me. I don't trip too much about language because it's an expression and there are worse things they could be doing.ReplyDelete
I've always written sex as mostly behind closed doors or with very little detail. You're right - right or wrong, kids do it.ReplyDelete
Thanks for co-hosting!ReplyDelete
I see cursing in a book (in any language) as similar to adding spice to food. When you have just the right spices at the right times, in the right amounts, it helps the food to stand out and improves the taste. But when you just dump in a huge heaping helping of spices indiscriminately, it all blends together and tastes terrible. Constant cursing, 5-20 times per page, is like that.
This is a great analogy! Stories with constant cursing also remind me of my brother-in-law, who uses f-bombs as almost every part of speech. Then I start hearing the dialogue in his voice, and it's all over.Delete
Getting the teen voice right, but not too graphic is a challenge that you take on and execute very well!ReplyDelete
My sex scenes are implied but not shown. Says more about me than the world's attitude, I'm sure.ReplyDelete
Swearing is a tough choice with YA fiction. My daughters were only surprised when it showed up a "lot" which meant several times on every page. But yes, teens curse. So, it's that fine line - how much/how little - it's hard to know.ReplyDelete
I draw this line at what I don't like to read in books, I guess. This means behavior and language I don't want to hear in daily conversation either...ReplyDelete
This was a great question to pose to the group, but I've got nothing to add or detract from the discussion.
Thanks for co-hosting!
It sounds like you have found a good system that works for you.
Thank you for co_hosting.
All the best.
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange
It's all about the audience and the genre--in my crime books, there's violence and swearing where needed for the story, and the sex is present but implied rather than depicted.Your policy is excellent for YA.ReplyDelete
It seems like things are getting more open the older that I get. I know back in the day, the adult novels I read were far more tamer than some of the YA stuff I've picked up in the modern day.ReplyDelete
This is a tough one because so much of the language depends upon genre. Good discussion.ReplyDelete
As I don't write (for) teens I don't have to worry about teens cursing, but whether they do or not, why should pages be littered with swearwords if they don't make for good reading?ReplyDelete
I had an interesting time with my scifi series, because I reckoned that 600 yrs on, with changed attitudes to many things (including the anglo-saxon/Victorian attitude to sex) swear-words would be different. So mine have come away from rude words based on religious words or body parts. You can still tell they're swearing, though.
Hope you're enjoying co-hosting as much as I am!
Like I mentioned on my blog. I rarely say anything in my stories that I wouldn't say in front of my mom.ReplyDelete
Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
Great answer. I think I shy away from strong language too much. Makes me sound like a prude.ReplyDelete
Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
Mary at Play off the Page
Good point. In terms of language, kids experiment, teens often over-utilize words they hope will make an impression. Would that writers could still get away with "Nathan kicked the dirt," ;-)
Thanks for co-hosting!
I don't write explicit sexual scenes, not because I disapprove of them but because I find them boring. After the first couple dozen, they all seem the same. I tend to skip them in my reading. Why would I want to write them?ReplyDelete
As for 'foul' language - it depends on who my characters are. Some of them swear. Others don't. I see that's your approach as well.
I have never written an explicit sex scene, and I'm not sure if I could. However, in my memoir I have written about being molested on a train by a conductor. that was one of the hardest things I have ever written. I usually avoid foul language when I'm writing, but if it is necessary for the situation or character, I'll use it when writing for adults. Thanks for co-hosting today, Cathrina! I hope you're having lots of fun today! Take care!ReplyDelete
I am right there with you. Teens are teens and they cuss and have sex... end of subject. LOL I have one explicit scene in my Contemporary YA novel, but they are both seventeen and the passion is mutual...
I've heard (mostly on romance podcasts) a lot of discussion about how YA readers these days often demand more "adult" content. I'll bet it's a hard balancing act for YA authors. Thanks for cohosting this month!ReplyDelete
Thanks for hosting this month's blog hop!ReplyDelete
There is such a fine line of setting a tone and just being gratuitous for shock value. Of course teenagers swear and have sex. So do I. But truly, I am not particularly entertained by writing that uses the F-bomb every other sentence, even if it's 'realistic.' That said, mileage may vary for others. And for that reason, I will always support the right of authors to tell their own stories.ReplyDelete
Thank you for hosting this month's blog hop. I do try and be entertaining but my "drawing the line" is more - will this spark an interest in the reader, not necessarily the same boundaries as many are talking about here. dianeweidenbenner.comReplyDelete
Thank you for co-hosting this month. I agree with YA - it's hard to know what to write because there's such a fine line in publishing. I've only ever written one sex scene, it was in an adult short story and was a fade-to-black, and writing it was so cringy for me... I doubt I'll do more than that in the future either! :)ReplyDelete
I'm with Olga Godin that I find myself skipping the 'sex' scenes in some of the books I read (Miss Fisher mysteries). I don't mind them, but after a while, meh. Also Jemina Pett's comment about curse words of the 'future'. I've done that with future stories and with fantasy stories. I think you get the 'feel' of the word without the 'coarseness' of an English form of the word. It's kind of fun to create a word (with a semi origin story for it) in my head. :)ReplyDelete
Being realistic is important as an author. That said, I try to keep things on the "clean" side. Thank you for co-hosting IWSG this month.ReplyDelete
Your approach sounds realistic and honest. I'm always bewildered when parents throw a fit about profanity in books for teens. Like, have you heard any actual teens talk? And pre-teens? I learned the f-word at school in the early 1970s... in first grade.ReplyDelete
Writing for teens today must be challenging when it comes to content.ReplyDelete
Thanks for co-hosting.
I rarely curse but I do slip one out occasionally. Especially when I stub my big toe. But it's so rare that when I do let a curse slip out my sons look at me in surprise.ReplyDelete
Thanks for co-hosting!