Monday, May 20, 2013

YA vs. Swearing

Alright, I have talked about a lot of things but swearing really isn't one of them. And I know it's a pretty big deal for authors to tackle this subject.  Why? Because a lot of people swear and are okay with it, and a lot of people aren't.  I for one, HATE swear words. I don't say them, I hate hearing them, I hate reading them.

And I especially hate when people feel the need to make their characters swear because it would be "Out of character" for the character to NOT swear. Guess what, you can do it! It is possible! But that really isn't the point of this post. And maybe I will touch on it later but right now, I want to talk about why it isn't okay for swearing to be in YA books. (YA = Young Adult).

Let's begin with ratings. Did you know that if the 'F' word is said more than twice in a movie it is automatically rated R? Yep! They can't say it more than twice in the entire movie or it gets an R rating.  SO, why should it be okay for YOUNG ADULT books to have the F word repeated more than two times? In fact, why is it okay to have swearing in YA period?

Let me give you an example, 'Anna Dressed in Blood'. Backstory: I am not into horror novels/movies/anything. I don't like horror, it isn't fun, it isn't enjoyable, and it pretty much just gives me nightmares. But I was told to read Anna Dressed in Blood by a wonderful friend so I bought it. I finished it and guess what! I LOVE the book. I LOVE the story, the characters, the plot, the love story, everything EXCEPT the swearing. Cas, -the MC- swears A LOT. And it really detracted from the rest of the story. Some pages it felt like every other word was the 'F' word.

And I don't plan on getting the second book. Why? Because as much as I want to know what happened, I don't care to read Cas swearing every other word, and judging by the reviews I read, I pretty much know how the story goes. So I don't need to read it, I know how it ends, and I just avoided all the swearing.

So I think this is something to keep in mind when writing about a character you think would swear. Is it worth losing readers over because you feel the need to put those words in there? And on top of that, you're a writer! There are so many creative ways around swearing. Think back story, maybe the character stops swearing for someone they love, maybe swear words are against the law, maybe it annoys your characters enemy because they won't swear. There are so many things you can do.

And if your book is ever made into a movie, do you really want them to have to rate it R or cut out so much of your character because of all the swearing?

On top of that, are those words really so important that we can't find other things to say in their place?

Alright, go ahead. Tell me your views on Swearing as a reader AND writer! I want to know.


  1. I hate swearing too, even in adult books. I love to listen to audiobooks as I work around the house, which means my kids listen too. No matter how great the book is, I have to quit listening if there are too many swear words. It makes me sad.

    1. That is sad. I just don't understand how swearing can be controlled in one type of media and not in another. And it saddens me that some authors find a need for swearing when even if it fits the character ,there are ways around it. :/