Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday’s Word: Cursisms

I totally did not make up this word…but I like it. We have all blogged about cursing in our YA or MG manuscripts and whether it’s a moral issue or just perceived as bad taste, the battle rages on.
Reality versus Morality.

Kids curse whether you hear them or not. Now what they say might not be all bad and maybe it could be better if you gave them choices.

When my son was little we went through the phase of screaming ‘Tartar Sauce’ or ‘Crabby Patties’ when something landed on our foot or some beasty ate someone on an episode of Buffy. Thank you, SpongeBob.

I personally am a fan of the ridiculous so I might be heard to say ‘Holy Hannibel’ or ‘Mariska Hargitay’, or occasionally…one of those other bad ones. I’m only human.

So the real question is…not whether I am using way to many ellipses in this post or whether you allow your characters to curse or not but rather when you do, are you creative enough to give them options? And if so…what are they?

And that, my friends, is the Word.


  1. This is why I like writing fantasy. :) I get to imagine new curse words - not just jumbles of letters, "Oh, sfilodels!" but things in their world that might become curses. In my own personal life, I have found that 'butterflies' and 'sprinklers' are very good substitutions. I had a friend who said, "Sweet tacos!" :)

  2. That's a good word. And I love elipses. I write adult so I use the usual suspects. I think the ones you guys are making up are cute though:)

  3. The two male POV's in my new WIp are horrible at letting the explitives fly. I've warned them not to do it, but they don't seem to listen to me all that much these days.

  4. I think this is a great topic, one that usually has so many varied opinions. I, personally, will let my characters cuss. But only when relevant.

  5. I grew up on young adult romance novels. Kids were kids...the stories were sweet. When I started writing YA, I was told repeatedly my voice was more middle grade, even though I was writing what I grew up on! But the more I investigated the more I realized YA books have changed. They tackle deep, dark have sex, do drugs, drink, die of cancer, commit suicide... It's just a different world.

    Personally, I think profanity is a NO for MG but for YA, it seems that all bets are off!

  6. I agree with Stephanie. No profanity for MG, but for YA, it would depend on the sitch and the character.

    An interesting way to tackle cursing in MG, would be to have a kid say a word, without actually mentioning it, and then show all the repercussions of the kid saying that word...


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.