So! Let's talk profanity. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a genre writer, but the current WIP is a YA. Which means...rules. More rules than I'm used to having previously written mainstream novels. Among the rules debated are: sex, drugs,
I'll tackle some of the other issues later this week, but I'd like to address profanity today primarily because the P-i-C told me to cut the curse words in my current WIP. I'm on the fence about this one because I can see both sides:
For profanity: Kids curse. Hell, I was cursing in middle school. To leave that out might feel inauthentic and too sugary to some readers.
Against profanity: It will bother parents, and it can pull the reader out of the actual story. And if you overdo it, it can also feel inauthentic. I've always felt that curse words carry so much more weight in print, and one f bomb on the page is worth ten in casual conversation.
So you see? Torn. The P-i-C (as he is wont to do) makes a good argument, but I don't want the book discounted because it doesn't connect with the reader. And if my characters feel too goody goody, it definitely won't connect with the reader. Even the goody goodies drop a damn once in a awhile. I also don't want to put off parents or teachers by filling the book with extraneous content that distracts from the really good story (I hope).
I put it out to the blogosphere: what are your rules for cursing (or not) in YA?