Wednesday, February 4, 2009

To F-bomb or not to F-bomb

That is our question...

So, we just finished a scene in Gmail where a particularly evil character drops a few F-bombs. If you've read our work, you know that we're pretty clean writers (edgy, we are not!). No sex, no violence and typically only mild swear words throughout the book. But when I was writing this scene last night I just had to drop a few F-bombs. This character is so dirty, so underhanded, so vile, that I wanted her voice to match.

So what do you think is the F-bomb ok in YA as long as it's used in moderation? I've posted a poll and feel free to give us your 2 cents in the comments.

8 comments:

spinregina said...

I'm all about the eff bomb. Love it. I've blogged about my love for foul language several times although of course I fell out of the habit of using tags so I can't find any of them.

Elizabeth Encarnacion said...

As an editor, I don't necessarily have a problem with teen books that use the F word occasionally. Though I do find that more creative ways of conveying it can be just as effective (such as the Battlestar Gallactica curse "Frak" which was picked up by Veronica Mars and other shows as a substitute.)

And I did actually see a fair number of teen bloggers complain about how often the F-bomb was used in the book Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, so even teens can get turned off by it.

Lisa and Laura said...

Thanks for your opinions. I think the f-bomb really can turn off readers (and parents) if it's used too much. We'll have to think very carefully about the scene. I think we only use it once or twice, so I'm tempted to leave it for now.

I'm acutally reading An Abundance of Katherine's right now and he uses "fug" as a substitute for the f-bomb, but it's kind of starting to grate on me a little bit. Of course if he had used actual f-bombs instead, that would have been even more distracting I think.

slhastings said...

I have a few "f-bombs" in my novel - but it isn't swearing for the sake of it. I have a couple of lines that even go into the etymology of the word – given by somebody that hates it. (Unfortunately, sometimes Helen Ovtroy has quite the mouth. LOL).

I'd have a problem with the "c" word though.

IMHO: the word fug should only be used when using the word fugly.

Lisa and Laura said...

Sam - I'm so with you on fug usage - I love the Fug girls and all things fugly, but fug as a swear sub just doesn't work for me.

I do like frak though - especially since it implies that the character is down with the Battlestar. Doesn't work for my little villian though.

Hmm - I'm leaning towards leaving the two references in for now. I'll discuss with Laura.

Anita said...

Totally against the F-bomb in YA. As the parent of an avid, advanced 12-year-old reader, I won't allow books with the F-word.

Lisa and Laura said...

Thanks for your perspective, Anita. That actually carries a lot of weight with us because we want the books we write to be books that parents would want their kids reading. And most importantly we want them to be books that our kids will read some day.

casiecook said...

I would definitely leave it out and/or substitute. Seeing that I had to go to administration this year for teaching a book with "bra strap" in it, I don't think it would be worth it to lose that many audience members. BTW - The parts of the book that you've posted thus far have been amazing.