Wednesday, 6 October 2021

#IWSG October post - Language choices in novels.

 Hello all! 

Welcome to the #IWSG for September! Hope your month has been awesome! I'm on a week's break after a gruelling publishing schedule. Now I've moved onto a keyword hunt using Publisher Rocket and Amazon ads with the help of Mastering Amazon Ads by Brian Meeks, but of course my laptop always travels with me!



Alex's awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard! Try to fit in a visit if you can!

  Be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website to see the latest posts!!!

October 6 question - In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

I think this month's question will bring forth some good discussion. I'll keep mine short and sweet.

The question caught my eye because the language part is something I've struggled with. 

I don't use *bad* language in everyday life, but the lives of those I write about are a different matter. In Paris Dreams, I decided the two romantic leads, being in their twenties and early thirties, with no religious background, would not necessarily speak as cleanly as those of us who were threatened with having our mouths washed out with soap if we uttered a *bad* word in our parents' hearing. 

So I struggled with using a smattering of *bad* language in my novel and I feel it makes my story authentic for the circles my characters move in - fashion and art. That said, I only use 2 *bad* words - the ubiquitous "f*#k" and "b*^%$#d". Not gratuitous at all. Only one of my beta readers objected to the *bad* language. After my initial reluctance, I'm relaxed about it. So out of 102,000 words, to have about a dozen *bad* words, I can live with that. What do you think? 


How about you? Is *bad* language a no brainer for you or are you conflicted?

~*~

Want a #free Halloween read. Book 3 of my Fast and Furious Short Fiction, HALLOWEEN, is #free on an #Amazon promotion from Oct 1 - 5. Er, with time zones, I think it should be available if you hurry. Grab your copy now. 


~*~

More good news! This month's WEP October thrill fest for the Year of Art went live on October 1. Come join the fun. I'm sure we've all got something to scream about - not necessarily a horror story, maybe something tamer. What do you think? 

We love new writers, or past writers returning to give WEP another shot. Come share the fun! You've got until the 20th October to post. There is a critique prize for the winner and a chance to guest post/promote your book!





56 comments:

  1. Gratuitous bad language turns me off. If it is right for the character/the situation I really don't notice it.

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    1. There's plenty of gratuitous language in books. And in films. Gratuitous violence is even worse.

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  2. I agree with you about the gratuitous violence - which will have me shutting the book and walking away much quicker than language issues.

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  3. Bad language is generally off putting. Okay if it's part of the dialogue and fits the character/context.

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  4. I don't use bad language, but if it fits the characters and the readers, then it works.

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  5. I don't think you overused bad language at all. For many people, saying a few bad words is a part of life, and you want to be true to your characters.

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    1. That's the crux, Natalie, being true to your characters.

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  6. Hi,
    If you wrote realistic conversations between your characters, then you did the right thing. You're a writer and I would want you to present the characters as they are. Make them come alive.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem

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  7. Replies
    1. I didn't think so but I still expect some flak.

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  8. Bad language is a complete no no for me.

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  9. Whatever fits the character. My MC, Alex O'Hara, promised her dying mother not to swear. She tries. She really does. LOL Like I do around my grandkids. I really dislike gratuitous bad language and graphic violence in movies. You won't find them in my books.

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  10. So you got the old "wash-out-the-mouth" rearing too. I'm not above a good cuss word now and then, but I always sense my grandmother nearby with that bar of Ivory in her hand. Great WEP to look forward to this month!

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  11. I've never had a problem with bad language, as long as the dialog and narrative feels natural. Language which feels forced or "fake" is more of a turn-off than the specific words. Mostly.

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  12. I don't mind strong language when I'm reading. Whatever matches the characters works for me :)

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  13. I've noticed some book reviews on Amazon that are based on profanity in the book. Reviewers express their disappointment in the book and will report the number of times profanity is used and how it ruined the book for them. These reviews make me wonder if some people want to find profanity so they can complain about it and, thus, warn potential buyers.

    Love,
    Janie

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  14. Oh my yes! Language flies pretty freely with certain age groups. It can add realism to our work.

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  15. I think you're allowed two bad words in that many. Especially ones I've been known to use myself in certain extreme circumstances :)

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  16. I think using (or not) 'bad' language is everyone's personal choice. I don't use swear words in my day-to-day life, but some of my characters occasionally do. It really depends on who they are. That's why I'm not surprised that some of your characters might insert an obscenity or two in their conversation, while you yourself don't approve of it.

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    1. Yep. We can't help our characters' mouths all the time.

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  17. I'm a definite believer that language and situations need to fit the characters and the story.

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    1. It seems most of us are in agreement, Carol.

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  18. Twelve words out of 102,000? You're good. I'm reading a well-known author right now - she has about 12 curse words per page. Just because it's 'realistic' doesn't make it interesting. Gratuitous cursing/sex/violence is like salt - it ruins the dish/read for me.

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    1. That number to a page is a bit off putting. You're right, it doesn't make it interesting. Like a movie where the characters say the F word every second they open their mouths. Urk.

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  19. A few bad words seem harmless! I am looking forward to WEP!

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    1. Looking forward to seeing you at WEP this month!

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  20. I think you're fine with a few well placed "bad" words! I don't really use them in my day to day life that often, but I agree with you, I think the characters have to use the language that fits who they are.

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  21. To show the world as it is,is also a writer's job. I will be missing out on the WEP this month Denise.. I'm travelling. Will be back in December.
    Sonia from https://soniadogra.com

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  22. Hi Denise,

    I think you are more than fine. First of all, one of your characters is a New Yorker...and THEY CUSS.. Believe me. LOL No need to worry there.

    Hoping to submit something for WEP. I may use another segment from MK... there is that intense VOODOO scene where MK is Silently screaming... ooooo. We'll see!

    Enjoy your VACATION! I can't wait until next month when I can take off ...

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    1. That scene would be perfect Michael. Hope submit it!

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  23. Hi Denise - yes the character needs to come through, but it depends on the story and book and then is perhaps not appropriate. I don't mind it sometimes ... I might put the book away or not finish it - but then others I feel the storyline is covered by the story and doesn't need cuss-words included. But as your commenters have said - each to his/her own.

    Looking forward to The Scream ... cheers Hilary

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  24. Hi! IWSG Newbie here. :)

    My writing vulgarity-meter is pretty close to yours. I want to create realistic characters, and sometimes that involves language you wouldn't use at a tea party. I don't enjoy gratuitous vulgarity or violence, but I think sometimes a story needs those elements. I'm not going to censor myself to be "clean" if it's unrealistic to the story, you know?

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    1. I'm with you all the way. Welcome to the IWSG!

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  25. The character's guide me. I find the issue moot in writing. But I love reading the comments of others on the issue. And I love that you admitted up front that your language isn't squeaky clean. Really! LOL Whose is????? Although, I hate to admit it. I was over thirty before I began using cuss words, any of them. And I was over 50 before I used the ultimate F... word. I'm a slow learner, but I do eventually catch up. LOL

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    1. Yeah me too. Writing is teaching me to cuss.

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  26. I tried to reply on my other comment, but it wouldn't connect. Thanks, I believe I will. It may need a bit of intro before submitting. Would that be part of the word count as well?

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    1. No Michael, introductions aren't counted in your word count.

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  27. I have no problem with strong language. The only time I think it’s too much is if a character uses a curse word every other word.

    Fast and Furious Short Fiction, HALLOWEEN sounds like fun.

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  28. I write mainly for YA readers so I make some language choices based on that. I don't mind reading some in books, but I'm just not a fan of every page...

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  29. I understand that the words are from the character and it could be his/her way of speech. So no problem for me.

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