Words of Curse

Blog No. 225

13226-south-park-it-hits-the-fan-episode-screencap-5x1For the last few months I’ve been working primarily on the crime anthology (when I’m not working on Flags and High Fives). It’s been an interesting process, breaking out of my comfort zone. Crime is not something I tend to seek out when I’m looking for a book to read and most crime movies give me the creeps as much as any horror would, but I felt the need to give Science Fiction some space and push myself a little. It’s been an interesting experience and I’m grateful that I can rely Ed Gagnon’s crime expertise if my story strayed too far from the mold. Right now I’m on the third draft and I’m just about to send out the story to some beta readers. Before I do, I have an issue to address.

Since my novella is part of an anthology, I’ve been working pretty closely with Christian and Ed to get all of our stories on track and for general input. So far, most of our time has been spent on the stories themselves, except for at the Summit where Christian and I did some brainstorming to work out a theme, title, and cover (still all in progress, but nearly done due to the dedicated time at the summit). It’s been a relatively smooth process for me, but both guys pointed out something that I have to work on before my story can progress to the next stage. (Cliff hanger on the second paragraph!)

16712021_10209705097076960_157467507659745574_nMost of what I write is aimed at a general audience. Not to say I write it so kids can read it, I just try to not alienate people with anything over the top. That said, I do watch the swearing on most stuff. I don’t think an occasional curse is such a bad thing (and slotting in an alternative can be particularly awkward to read) but for the most part, I avoid it. With the crime story, I went for broke. One of the first emails I send to Christian and Ed when I started the first draft was to confirm that the bad words would fit within our book. Once I opened the floodgate I was carried away with the flow. All the characters got in on the act. It was a cavalcade of filth, but in my mind, it fit. In my story, every character is worse than the last, and it shows in what they say (and how they say it). It’s a tale about the worst of the worst in a city as told by someone who’s not so great himself.

That means this story is filthy. So filthy, that both collaborators on the anthology felt the need to point it out (for different reasons). It is with a sigh and a heavy head that I go through the novella and cut down on the swearing. I’m not normally a swear-y guy. Sometimes I let a few expletives fly (especially when I’m tired) but I can watch the potty mouth with little trouble. (Besides, doing something all the time lowers it’s impact when you really need it.) This story though, it felt like those bad words (and creative phrases) fit right in. I have two authors I respect telling me otherwise though, so it’s time to weed the garden. If I’m being honest with myself, I did let myself go a little overboard. It was pretty fun though.

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4 thoughts on “Words of Curse

  1. I like your last line where you say you went overboard and had fun…that tells me you’re enjoying your writing. I’ve done the same thing, in different ways, but was later criticized by avid readers who pointed out my flaws. I learned that you have to know your audience and write to them. I don’t think that’s any secret to guys like James Patterson.

  2. Christian Laforet

    It’s good to hear you’re going to trim down the naughty words. I was just getting ready to break out a bar of soap.

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