1. CyberFD
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    CyberFD Member

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    Swearing in YA

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CyberFD, Sep 15, 2013.

    I know this has been covered once before, but I'm super sorry I just need some advice.

    Now I know that swearing can scare off a publisher, and I've done my best to refrain from doing just that, going as far as rewriting scenes that I ended up swearing in. However, there's this one particular passage in there that I just can't figure out.

    (A little insight, my MC is on the run from an agency called the OSA, and is in the midst of trying to evade them. He is speaking to an agent that has a prominent role through the story)

    Do you know what kind of expenses you’ve caused?” She says to provoke me, still in close proximity. Her breath reeks of spearmint, and her ponytail sways behind her with every word. “Do you know how many incredible agents we’ve had to send after you? A simple teenager?”


    “Well there’s something you forgot about those ‘incredible agents.’” I try reminding her. I click open the knife in my hand and hold it tight.


    “Oh yeah?” She challenges. “What’s that?”


    “I fucking killed them.”


    I've done my best trying to rewrite it in a way that has the same intense feeling as the last sentence, but I can't get it. I've tried taking the word out all together but to me it falls flat. Other attempts at rewriting that part have failed me.

    My five test readers have all told me that they enjoyed the scene, and say it's fine. Am I shooting myself in the foot by keeping this or is it alright?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who gives advice!
     
  2. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I think it's fine. It "scares publishers off" if you're marketing it for a 10-year-old, which I'm assuming you're not.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you read YA/Teen you'll find examples of books with plenty of swearing in them, and from major publishers. Non-issue.
     
  4. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Not a big deal.

    If you insist on omitting the swear word:

    "I killed every last one of them."
    "I murdered each and every one."
    "They're all dead."
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't have an issue with profanity, and the YA audience likely won't. But some parents and some publishers might. It's an artistic decision. If it's what the character would say, and you don't want to compromise, leave it in.

    Another option though is to use subs like, 'friggin'. I made a few words up for my novel to sidestep the issue. But my main characters are not the kind that would use profanity. Some of the lesser characters would, so the substitute words don't impact the writing
     
  6. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Being honest, I've read lots of YA (mostly because I'm writing one) and the most worst they say is 'sh*t' (Only once, I saw a YA use the F-word) But hey, as the others have said, most people who read the YA genre won't have a problem with some profanity here and there. I'm assuming you're not going to drop an F-bomb every paragraph or so :)
     
  7. Roxie
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    Roxie Active Member

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    As research for my own book, I review a lot of YA/NA novels currently published by indie authors and mainstream houses alike and they are often littred with F-bombs and worse. I would say that in today's market the boundaries regarding language and even sexual content have seriously been expanded. I would say you are good to keep going as planned. If ever you're looking for titles to check out PM me and I'll send you a list...
     
  8. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Personally, I don't find it an issue, though I self publish. My character for example particularly favors the "GD word" (drops it three times in chapter one) and the "S word" along with all the others for a total of 11 swear bombs in 2,896 words. Maybe that's overdoing it, I don't know. I just put up a disclaimer that said AJ is foul mouthed and if you have an issue with it, don't read.
     
  9. Dragonport
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    Dragonport Member

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    While I agree with the posts above, that limited swearing in YA isn't really an issue, in my opinion the f-word isn't that necessary. I think I killed them has a big enough impact by itself. The swear word, for me, just draws attention to itself and makes me like the MC less, but again that's just me. Perhaps it's because I'm irritated by swearing in novels and real life, but I'd be uncomfortable if I encountered the f-word, and I'm in the target audience for YA. The worst I've read was a few GD's, or being told that someone is swearing, instead of seeing the words as dialogue.
     
  10. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    In general, swearing is rarely ever needed. When I write the first draft, I usually just let the cussing fly all over the place, then edit out what looks like over doing it. 80% of my cussing takes place in sex scenes anyway, so the F-bomb is the least of the reader's worries as far as lewdness goes :D
     
  11. MrIthil
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    MrIthil New Member

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    I suppose it's acceptable, as long as you can keep it somewhat tasteful. Foul language for the sake of foul language in literature is plain repulsive, regardless of genre, in my opinion. I'm not at all bothered by Stephen King's use of swear words myself, but he is really the only author that I can tolerate it from.
     

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