Yesterday, via email, I received what ranks as one of the more unusual questions about my writing. I was asked why I didn’t use the “F Word” in my books. I thought I’d answer that here.
While it wouldn’t be unusual–with some of the characters I deal with in my novels–for them to say it, or at all odd, there is a reason I haven’t used it.
My daughter and sons, and one day, my grandchildren, are going to read my books. It’s that simple.
I don’t want my kids or grands to settle for a four-letter word and substitute it for more critical thinking. I want them to think–and think hard–about anything that angers or upsets them so they work for solutions. I want them to be more circumspect in the example they’re setting for their children, and more careful about the energy they’re expending.
All that said, I’ve learned never to say never. Middle age weight gain is a direct result of eating your words, and every time you say never, you can bank on it coming back and you having to eat and digest it. Nevers are good for 3-5 pounds each. And that’s the truth.
So I won’t say I’ll never say it. I will say that when I’ve been about to write it, because of my kids and grands, I stop and ask myself, “Do I really need this? Can I say something else just as effective that doesn’t carry those kinds of moral connotations? Is this the ONLY thing this character would say that would come across to the reader as real?”
Thus far, there have been other ways, substitutes that I considered just as effective, so I’ve not used it.
And for those who might think my rationale on this is odd, before you judge me goofy, go sit in on a kindergarten class full of students whose parents or grandparents aren’t thinking about what their kids are hearing.
I speak to school kids often–kindergarten thru college–and let me tell you, some of the things that come out of these angels’ mouths will turn hair gray. That the little ones say them with all innocence and purity creates concern. But there are far too many little ones who know exactly what their words mean, and those are the ones who turn my hair gray and sour my stomach.
Blame it on parents and grands, on TV, on street-talk or books. Blame it on a society that has made this just another word. Blame it on whatever you like. The bottom-line is that what is, is. And know that so long as I’m satisfied with substitutes, you won’t see it in my books.
Isn’t it funny? As kids we used to say, “Don’t let my mom hear that! Don’t let my dad see that!”
Now, we say, “Don’t let my kids hear that! Don’t let my grandkids hear that!”
Life, indeed, comes full circle. 🙂
“Trust is earned, one book at a time.”
–Vicki Hinze https://vickihinze.com
Note: I edit books and professional correspondence. But I do NOT edit email or this blog. This is chat time for me, so if the grammar is goofed or a word’s spelled wrong, please just breeze on past it. I’d appreciate it–and salute you with my coffee cup. 🙂
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Copyright 2005. Vicki Hinze
Vicki Hinze is a multi-published author, who has a free library of her articles on writing–the craft, business and life–at https://www.vickihinze.com.