Is a Lack of Profanity in Fiction a Sign of Weak Writing?

Earlier today, I had an experience in one of my Creative Writing classes that I have chosen to share. It was in playwriting class, and it was my turn to be workshopped. While the majority of the class took no notice to the fact that my play had zero profanity in it (rude words yes, profanity no), one student felt it was odd that my play’s cast swore none of the time at all. To be honest, she even seemed bothered by it. So, I’ve chosen to use this experience as a means to talk about profanity in fiction.

Is it poor writing when your fiction has little to no profanity?

I don’t think so. I can only speak for myself, but the worst words I’ll use are “crap,” “heck,” and “darn.” That’s verbally, though. Occasionally, I’ll slip a real dirty one in there, but I’d be lying if I said that’s how I talk in real life. My mouth is as clean as a whistle. But that being said, I don’t think it’s a poor choice of diction to exclude certain words when you’re writing fiction or some other form of Creative Writing. I think often times, people rely far too much on profanity to get the point across.

The point is simple. If you choose to include characters that cuss, make sure every word out of their mouth counts. Too much of that stuff can reflect poorly on you as a writer. And please, don’t be so narrow-minded that you catch yourself thinking that a lack of profanity is weak writing. It’s frankly a stupid mindset, and there are plenty of writers out there (myself included) that don’t generally use language like that in their books. I won’t judge if you do it, but for Zeus’s sake, make sure every word counts.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Advertisements

Dealing with Nay-Sayers

Negativity is a crushing thing for a writer, and unfortunately, most of us will have to deal with it in one form or another at one point in our writing life. Personally, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had someone act all negative or critical when they discovered I wanted to be a writer.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a published author or someone who aspires to be one. At some point, you’re going to have to deal with negativity. Negativity is going to show up in several ways. The most common, in my experience, is going to be that person that keeps telling you that you’re just not going to be successful and make any money off your writing.

But you know, even if you get published, you’re still going to have to deal with jerks saying crap about your books. In other words, you’ll have to deal with reviews. That doesn’t mean you have to listen. Opinions are like buttholes: everyone has one. What you got to do is learn to filter it out and only listen to encouraging comments. Those other guys don’t give a crap, and they’re usually not the kinds of people you want to go to for writing advice anyway.

The bottom line is that people are going to criticize you for wanting to be a writer. Even J.K. Rowling gets criticized for her work, so don’t let it bother you. Being a writer means that dealing with stuff like this is a fact of life. If you can’t take it, you really can’t be a writer.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017