I'm going to let you into a secret, lean close and I'll whisper it. Ready?
Most kids swear!
There, I said it. I uttered the words that no parent/adult or relative of a teenager wants to hear. But they do, and they do it in secret.
I've no doubt that there are some kids who don't. Take my teenage self as an example, I swore.
I knew the words. I tried it but - for some strange reason - people told me (and still tell me) it doesn't suit me. When I asked why my sweet friends told me that it's because I look too innocent or something. hehee.
My word choice is now limited to bloody (a great British, non-swear word).
But what about swearing in YA?
I'll admit I thought long and hard about choosing this topic as a post. It kept me up most of the night thinking about it. But there has been debate around the web and various blogs about the subject. It isn't something I tackle lightly (and I'd hate to offend) but I read posts by agent Mary Kole discussing the topic here and here. There is also an author perspective too from Gayle Forman.
So I wondered do we, as responsible writers, close our minds (and ears) and pretend that this generation has never uttered a profanity? Believe me, my seventeen-year-old cousin accidentally let one slip during a heated conversation with my uncle.
I've also heard some choice phrases from groups of kids in shopping centers. And it creeps me out when I hear really young kids swearing (I'm not kidding, some kids on Supernanny have fruity language!)
I'm not talking about a book littered with F-bombs, although I'm sure it happens. No, I'm talking about the heated moments when a swear word may slip out. Do we, as readers, see a word like this and close the book vowing never to read that author again?
There are the handy alternatives to swear words. The hell, damn it or crap. But some people take offence to these too. And that is their right to do so. This world is a wonderful mix of opinions and choices and I would never try to change that for one second.
I think it comes down to personal choice, one that you make for your character, book and story. I have one mild profanity in my MS. It's not an f-bomb. In fact, I'm gonna call it an s-bomb.
I tried other words. I didn't shove it in to be topical or controversial. I thought long and hard about including it. But the situation called for it and an OMG wouldn't do.
I'm not advocating a book littered with profanity. But why is it less acceptable in books but not in films? How many films have you seen where they utter the f-bomb/other curse words on a regular basis?
Here is another view on the subject.
Now, I love my followers, you guys are awesome and always make me think. I value your imput and rights to an opinion. So I'm curious as to your thoughts on this subject.