Monday, April 7, 2014

The "F" Word

Yep, I'm talking about THAT word. It doesn't faze me seeing it in adult books. I hear it almost everywhere I go. I say it.

But I kind of cringe when I hear it in Young Adult books. It's not that I think the little darlings are naive and innocent (the youngest murderer on Death Row is 11 years old and would frighten Charles Manson). We know they use the word frequently because you hear it in their conversations. (Yes, I've heard my own sons use it and it doesn't make me proud. The rule is if you fall and crack your head on the door and have to get stitches, you can use it. It seems to escape their lips a little more often than cracking their heads on doors.)

I'm no prude; I say it when agitated (in NJ, it's almost a requirement to swear when you drive on any road with these lunatics), but I don't think we ought to be encouraging it. It's a foul word, like a few others that I won't mention (and did you notice there are more derogatory words against women than men? But that's another post...) The "F" word is relatively common in everyday speech and saying "Oh shoot" sounds stuffy and fake. It will turn off the young adults we want to reach because they wouldn't say that.

The line I walk as author-mother-mentor-person of faith is using it in my books. In the three novels that I've co-written with Natalie (Blonde Ops, Sirenz, Sirenz Back in Fashion), we never once used it (and we don't plan on it- it just doesn't fit our style/story). But I have an adult and a new adult book and I'm wondering how to get around using it especially when it's a male character. It seems to be more acceptable (although I don't hold it as true) that girls will swear less. My 19-year-old protagonist, Dalen Steele, kills people. He's a poisoner. He's not going to say "sugar cookies!" when he gets shot, beat, and captured.

Maybe it's no big deal anymore. Should I just shut the "F" up on this?