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It seems to me that a few authors took this in a different direction than was my original intent.

This is a network of readers. Literally more than 80% of us are readers here....

I think that this discussion has been good and after reading the last posts, I believe we have shifted from our original intent.

Maybe we have said all we can say about this.

I will say that the discussion started out with readers expressing their views about what they would or would not read (or buy) and turned into a reader bashing discussion about a few bad reviewers. Maybe that would best be a discussion for another forum?

Besides I did get a few complaints from readers here about the posts lately so I have shut this one down.

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This morning I was looking at discussions on Michelle Sutton's Ning page "Edgy Christian Writers" and one discussion was about cussing in a Christian book.

Some were saying it hurt "the reality" of a character like a gang member, if they didn't cus.

Really?

Reality? I must use the F bomb or ...
Personally I resist cussing and did even before coming to Christ. (Although even now I slip and feel badly about it afterwards.)
I feel it is in poor taste and cringe around those in my life who use it. It is the way I was raised.
So I do not need it.

 

The Sopranos is a great example.
Watched part of one episode on HBO and "... fnfnfnf ef" click... changed it and I love gangster movies/ programs.
When it came out on A&E ... sans cussing and nudity, I watched the entire series.

GREAT!
I might have missed some of the reality (My friend tells me I didn't experience the the true reality.) It was enough for me, and I do not feel that I missed anything.
As writers, the pen is in your hand, you set the boundaries and take us where you want to go. You create the reality, and if you are good about making us care about the characters, and keep us on the edge of our seat, we will not even notice that there was no cussing, besides suggesting language was used can leave it to the imagination.
The scariest part of Jaws was the first 90 seconds, for me because I never see the shark.

I never met anyone who discussed a book with me saying "You know there wasn't any (or enough) cussing in that story!"
BUT I have met plenty who have complained otherwise.

Write the way you want and create the reality you want, then find a publisher who will publish what you want... that is the rub we are discussing.
Then I will spend my money and time and energy to read what I want :-)

 

I would be interested in your thoughts as readers, leaders and writers.

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Replies to This Discussion

Michelle, I totally agree with you, that you can use similar words that get the point across and I also hate the F bomb in a book or a movie.
Yes Michelle, really enjoy reading the discussions over on your site too.
I agree Michelle, I have read a book recently where they thought in there head about the foul language use. I think it really says enough. We dont have to hear the words to know it was bad.
In the same way that lazy comics resort to cussing and crudeness, lazy writers often default to the lowest verbal common denominator (later Tom Clancy being a perfect example). Part of my challenge in writing believable worldly emotion or banter is coming up with good cuss-substitutes. Whether through implication or a clever phrase, with a little thought it's not difficult to get across a character's thought while leaving readers with smirks on their faces rather than twists in their stomachs.
Steve,
I was at Nora's book club the Tuesday night we talked to you by phone about Monday Night Jihad. One of the things I liked about the book was the way you implied what was said in 'locker room' situations without the language. My mother always said people who use fowl language had a limited vocabulary. You demonstrated not only vocabulary but imagination and creativity.
I think that saying someone cursed is enough to get the point across.....having them actually curse makes me consider putting the book down. More than one curse word in a book, generally makes me avoid any more books by that author because it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I can handle alot, but curse words and s*x scenes....not so much.
I agree wholeheartedly! There have been many authors that I have told our kids weren't allowed in our house for those two reasons!
I am a reader and I admit I dont want to read books with the F bomb or other swearing. slang is ok but not swearing. I dont like books with the swearing (I guess thats a difference from America we call it swearing you call it cussing). I run the church library and alot of the readers are non christians who come to out reach programs. One lady said she cant borrow from the library anymore cos we have spoilt her with the Christian fiction. She doesn't like the swearing or sex in books. She loves the Christian fiction books. I have had other comments from some of the other ladies they love the books.
Part of the reason swearing and the F bomb is more common nowdays is because of shows on tv and movies. I have watched a couple which of historical films where the use of the f word was used when it wasn't even used back then and that was annoying. I normally turn shows of where they over swear. Even younger people often comment about shows with to much swearing.
I am with you Jenny!
Just finished reading another Stephen James book (the Bishop.... reviewing it this week) and he has some charachtors who cuss, but there is not a cuss word in the book. He is very creative and has published a lot of books.

Hey welcome to our Network! I am so glad you are here.
First I have to say that I've never written profanity in any of the mss I've written. I've also never written a sex scene.

That said, I don't go along with a hard and fast rule for Christian fiction about either of them.

I can't stand to listen to the Soprano's and one reason is the use of viscious profanity. However, I believe it's pretty close to what reality is in the criminal world.

I also don't think it does the trick (when writing crime fiction) to use a phrase like: explitives peppered the air. Most criminals who use the F-bomb and other equally offensive terms are inarticulate, unimaginative, and visciously violent. Whatever combination of words, whatever phrase the writer choses as a substitute for the F-word or other prophanity, it must convey that inarticulare, not very intelligent violence of temperment.

In romantic fiction it might do the trick to use the phrase: he salt and peppered the air with explitives. Crime fiction is a whole other ball game.
There is ALWAYS a better or safer way to get your point across. I agree, all it does is make the eyes of the reader salt to see such nasty language. I don't even appreciate slang, it is just a mild version of the real thing. And both can easily be avoided and your fiction will not suffer because of it.
I agree Casey one interesting thing is in different countries, areas etc what same call slang others call normal speech. There are some words commonly used in the USA that I use to cringe way more about in a book but are becoming more use to and are now not quite as bad here either now but when I first had christian friend using the words in emails etc I was shocked. To be honest I even have issue with the phase oh my God, here its considered Blasphemy and I was brought up being told this is not said as its taking the Lords name in vain. I know in the south its not considered an issue but I still cringe hearing it.

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