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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I am a city dweller...but I also like to spend time in rural areas.

It bothers me how much of US youth culture has gone what they call "urban." It's the worst of city living...it's the trashiest speech. And the Hollywood types and record companies are pushing it on our kids.
I came to Christ as an adult and had already spent 10+ years in the entertainment publishing industry. I tossed around language as part of my daily life and used language and sex as an "integral" part to the stories I wrote or edited.
Now, I think using them is wrong for a believer regardless of how UNrealistic some would say your work is without it. As the writer/creator, we are in charge of the words on the page and must stand apart from the world. I think there is too much evidence in scripture that tells us as much. Plus, I think it shows a lack of creative imagination on the part of the writer. As Michelle says her characters "curse"...I assure you, my imagination can fill in that blank. :)
As a buyer, I will not purchase a book that I know has any foul language or graphic sex scenes.
Not condemning anyone who does, just giving my opinion as one who used to do those things BC.
Roland Its good to hear your opinion as a former non Christian who swore as part of daily life. I dont like hearing foul language and try to keep away from it with tv I often will turn of or change the channel when its being used. There are a couple of shows I use to watch all the time but the swearing and the sexist remarks makes me turn it off or over before they start.
I dont want to read it in books either which is why I think many people read christian fiction. I know a few of the ladies who borrow books from the Church library are non christians who read these books cos they dont have swearing and graphic sex scenes.
I have read some edgy fiction but I haven't read any so far that have used swearing or been graphic.
I'm chiming in late, but profanity is a turn-off for me, not just in Christian Fiction, but all fiction. In my opinion, cussing is taking the easy, less creative way out.
I'm in late too, but I think there are more considerations that I either missed in the discussion or that weren't there. The first is your publisher. My publisher edits out bad language and cussing. The second is there are more effective ways of writing about cussing without cussing. For example, I have my characters "breath a curse" or "let out a curse" all the time. I leave the explicative to the mind of the reader. The same is true of sex scenes. You don't have to tell all, you can show without describing every moan or curse. I think authors who can't use the tools of authorship well are the problem.

This is an awesome discussion I think.

It is interesting to see what readers thinkas well as what authors say about why they do what they do. Great point Linda, concerning Louis LaMour! It is possible to describe what someone did without reading the word they used to do it. :-)

Overall I think authors and publishers have the freedom to write and print whatever they like. I would never deny them that right. However as readers (the people who buy the books) we have the right to purchase or not.

I love Grisham but I no longer read his books because he has crossed a line in language that I will just not follow.

Funny thing is that this is not just a "Christian" thing. I have heard similar boundaries being set by people who do not read books with language and it not on religious grounds. I think the issue is that many folks read to escape reality, not experience more reality. Even Non Fiction.

Just how I feel as a reader.

Interesting about Grisham. Author and preacher Keith Madsen, was just saying on Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers in another context, that Grisham is a Baptist as Keith is.

 

One of my fav gen market thriller authors is Robert Crais of the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. Joe Pike, while not Christian has ethics he will not break and rules he follows. I grew to love his character as Elvis Cole's side kick. However, Crais has given Joe his own books now and seems to want to test Joe's resolve. He throws the most unsavory character's in Joe's path, the most salacious women. I'm upset that the character I love so much is at the center of a bunch of trashy characters in his own books.

 

Now I realize that in a good thriller half of the characters are going to be far from sainthood. But still...this went a tad too far.

 

Will I order the next one? Maybe. I really love the Joe Pike character, who hasn't changed.

I am almost published now. My first book Burning Hearts comes out in May 2011.

 

Since my publisher Desert Breeze allows profanity, I have included the word "hell" twice as an explitive coming from a gangster. I've also included a few non cuss words but slang that's pretty ugly though not crossing over into profanity. All this got past my editor and will come out in the book.

 

Now I have to say the book is 80K and there are only about 5 words like this.

My biggest problem regarding writing cussing (especially blasphemy) is that scripture reminds us not to cause anyone to sin and in writing it we cause the reader to say it in their minds. We are encouraging people to use cuss words and that's not where I want to take readers.
Hadn't thought of that. Good point. I remember being in high school and we went around the room reading a "classic" and my section had the word d**n in it and I skipped the word because I didn't want to have to say it out loud.

I struggle with the even the abreviations TGIF here to use God's name even in this sort of phrase is something we dont do. I get told by some they are saying they are thankful to God that it is friday but thats not how most would say it and the OMG I have to change to oh my gosh. 

 

I had an american book with an english charactor recently that I just couldn't read cos of one word it kept repeating. I have learnt its not bad in America but here its swearing not as bad as it was but a word I dont say but if I hear to often it sticks. it relates to blood with a y on the end. 

Agreed.

 

Also, we write for our readers, not ourselves (although, arguably, we appeal to readerships with tastes much like our own, I suppose). My readership, the niche I appeal to, would not appreciate profanity. Therefore, I don't deliver it. I think it takes more thought and finesse to deliver a scene realistically/effectively in which it might be expected, but goes without.

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