Wendy Lawton, an agent at Books & Such Literary, recently blogged:
But for me the biggest reason to avoid questionable language in a book is that it is usually lazy writing. It’s like telling instead of showing. Rather than just put a cuss word in a character’s mouth, there are so many more powerful ways to get the attitude and language across.
(You can read her entire post here.)
And yet maybe there’s that person who needs to hear it. The bad word, the foul word, the one that cuts into the hard reality of her life. Maybe she needs to know that God is big enough to go even there. That his grace makes beauty from what is hard and ugly and foul. That he loves her more than all that.
Jesus is my life. Jesus is my everything. Jesus is my all in all. ALL MY EGGS are in the Jesus basket. I have no other eggs, no other baskets. Everything about me lives and breathes and moves and longs for Jesus. I long to live life in the presence of God, faithful to the work that He’s given me. What I want you to know about why I swear, in light of allegiance to my faith is this: I’m trying to fucking survive. That’s all I can say. That’s all I can tell you. … If you are worried about me, don’t. I have an inner circle. I have a therapist. I have Jesus. And thankfully, antidepressants.
I’d like to hear your thoughts, readers– Christian and otherwise. My young adult novel (on submission right now) has more than a handful of curse words, including a couple of the dreaded F-bombs. When I was writing those scenes, though, it truly felt that no other word would capture the complete devastation of those moments. They are sad, scary, heartbreaking scenes where the characters are broken, and no other word felt powerful enough to reach out and slap the reader’s heart in a way that they could realize the ruins my characters lay in.
I will lose some readers because of this, I imagine. My own mother and sister don’t understand my “need” to use such harsh words in my writing. I know that if my brother reads my story, he will be disappointed with my word choices. But I don’t feel guilty, and I know that part of that is due to the spiritual freedom I’ve experienced since God and ERP broke my shackles four years ago.
Let’s start a discussion in the comments below, friends! All opinions welcome! Play nice.