1. Castor
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    Castor New Member

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    Use of profanity in YA books.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Castor, Jan 9, 2013.

    Hi All,

    I am currently working on the first book of a planned 9 book Fantasy series targeted for 13+ teens.

    I believe that using swear words can display a lot of emotion in a character’s speech if used correctly, but considering the target age, I want to be sure of the limit.

    I am not planning on using a large amount of swear words, although as three of the five main characters are teenagers, there will probably be multiple instances.

    Obviously, I am not planning on using overly strong language such as the C, W or F words, but I would like to know people’s opinions on using both B-words, both in their proper meanings and as an insult.

    Also, what about much less serious words such as Damn, Git, Crap etc.

    Many thanks

    Castor.
     
  2. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    I read a lot of YA and I have to say that the series I've seen picked up don't usually have a lot of profanity in them (if any). I've seen damn, crap, etc. used sparingly and usually followed by some sort of reprimand from an older figure. That being said, I've also read some of the YA geared at older teens and it isn't impossible to see the "B word" pop up, but it wasn't flagrant. I don't think that kids today would be at all surprised by the usage - it's too common in society ... but parents and publishers might have a different idea. Of course, I'm not a publisher so I wouldn't know. =/
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Keeping it low key would be to your advantage allowing you the broadest
    range of readers.
    I'm not against swearing per say - but I think it can quickly become a crutch.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Ditto.

    Oh, and I would also tone down the series plans. Write the "first" book as a stand-alone work, because that is the only chance you will have of getting it published. If you do get it published and you wind up with a best-seller, then you can start thinking about book II. This is advice that is repeated continually on these forums.
     
  5. WriterOfGarnia
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    WriterOfGarnia Member

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    It also really depends where you live. If you live in the US you will obviously want to have as little profanity as possible when selling to that target audience. While if you live in Europe then you can allow yourself to include nearly as much profanity as your creative self requires. I am not saying that Americans are prude or that Europeans have no morals, just that this seems to be accurate when describing what is accepted and what isn't.
     
  6. PaulKemp24
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    PaulKemp24 Member

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    Git?
     
  7. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    Something I've noticed as well. When I was 12 we moved to the Netherlands for a few years and my mother was horrified when a 8-year-old started swearing in English.

    Don't eliminate swearing, just tone it down a bit. Use it sparingly or for certain characters only.
     
  8. radnommandess
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    radnommandess Member

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    I think the use of swearing would definetly lend a feel of realism if your charaers are teenagers. Also swearing in print is something many teenagers find apealing especially if swearing is severely frowned upon in the family home. Another thing with your choice of swear words, in different places/cultures different swear words are considered more/less offensive. E.g where I live the B word would be way more offensive than C...ing, F...ing W.
     
  9. WriterOfGarnia
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    WriterOfGarnia Member

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    Yes exactly. Where I live, many of the swear words that are very frowned upon in the english speaking world are words that we do not really care about, while curses with the word "cancer" in it is very frowned upon, for instance "May cancer eat me." or "May cancer eat you." things like that. Also, in general, if you can and if you will allow yourself to do so, I would suggest implementing some swear words. It is really something that teenagers dig, not just because they are words they can relate to but because it is simply an accurate and unbiased depiction of reality and it sells very well for that target audience!
     

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