Everybody’s got one, or so they tell me…

What I would like, kind sirs and siresses, is an opinion. Not just any old opinion though, before you give me your views on Miliband’s leadership, Kim Kardashian’s arse to brain ratio or the loaded flight capabilities of various breeds of swallow. What I would like to know is your view on naughty language and how it applies to the novella I have in the pipeline.

Now make no mistake, this is not a children’s book. The themes are adult, it contains violence and “scenes which the viewer really bloody well should find disturbing,” including but certainly not limited to dismemberment, physical violence and at least one scene that would put Hannibal Lector off his Chianti. Now I would personally deem foul and often abusive language to be well suited to the environment that I am attempting to portray, but in such discussions in the past it has to be said that I have often found myself in the minority. People seem to have a high tolerance for gore, sex, violence and even gory sexual violence and yet, somewhat oddly I think, not for naughty language.

Now I am certainly, definitely not going to hack the novella apart for the sake of it but I have started to wonder if a slightly “abridged” version might be warranted so as not to alienate some of my potential readership. What I am quite willing to do however is to concurrently release an edited, curse-free version alongside the full novella for those who feel differently to me about what is and is not acceptable. I won’t do this if no-one thinks it is justified and so there, I am asking for your opinion.

Whether via the comments feed, my Facebook account (for those who know me in that twisted vista that we call “real life”) or via @Vampiricchicken over on Twitter, please let me know what you think I should do. Should I stick to my gut feeling and release it as I see it, should I be sensitive and release two versions or should I take my Encyclopaedia Profanica and throw myself into the nearest wood chipper?

Answers on a postcard, please. Or, you know, practically anything BUT a postcard.


About Alec

An aspiring writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror based in Cornwall, at least when I'm not working as a purchaser for the family Architectural Ironmongery firm. I am a father of two boys and the owner of perhaps the most ridiculous dog to ever chase its tail. View all posts by Alec

2 responses to “Everybody’s got one, or so they tell me…

  • edfortune

    Foul language is a spice, not a main course. I have friends who swear rarely, and when they do so, it sets the world on fire, because no one is prepared to hear them say the simplest of swear words.

    Personally, I prefer my rude-word spice to be as hot and as fiery as possible, but used sparingly. If one must swear when suprised, don’t say ” **** me” , say “**** me gently with a chainsaw”. The latter has more punch and a touch of humour to off-set the inherent anger.

    In writing, I rarely have characters who use swear words as punctuation, preferring instead to be careful with the condiments. If it helps, this does tend to be the attitude of the British Board of Film Classification as well.

    • Alec

      Thanks Ed, I’d certainly agree with that. In this case it’s used whenever its justified, though in some instances what’s happening is that unpleasant that it’s justified relatively frequently. I’ve tried to limit the level of “conversational swearing” so as not to reduce the impact, with the exception of one character who swears in order to “fit in.” (She’s the only girl in a group of rough, tough guys and that’s a real life phenomenon for certain and elements of her are based on several women who really exist.)

      Thanks for the feedback, will be bearing it in mind!

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