In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* The novel continues, combined
* Topic: On the Use of “Blue” or “Bad” Language
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quote of the Day
“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.” Dylan Thomas
Appropos of nothing, this is probably my favorite poem of all time.
“It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.” P.G. Wodehouse
The novel continues, combined
I decided to go ahead and combine the earlier (unpublished) novella with the novel I’m writing now since the first leads directly into the latter and since combining them has been nagging at me for a few days.
You’ll see that reflected in today’s numbers below and in the list of days. The novella took 6 days to write, so I started the renumbering with Day 7. I necessarily lost maybe 100 words during the transition.
Topic: On the Use of “Blue” or “Bad” Language
In “Of Interest” today is an article on the pros and cons of using profanity in fiction.
I didn’t leave a comment. As a writer, my first thought was If you’re still controlling what your characters do and say, you have bigger problems to worry about than what what specific words are used.
(By the way, I use the quotation marks around “blue” and “bad” because I personally believe language as a whole is there to be used. In other words, I think the whole argument is silly.
Especially in this day of “triggers,” whether and what language is considered “blue” or “bad” is determined by the reader, and in my world, intent carries a great deal more weight than perception.)
In fiction, language is either appropriate to the situation or it’s unnecessary and gratuitous, and which it is is not a matter of opionion. If I stumble across gratuitous “bad” language as a reader, I usually laugh, then close the book and find something else to do. But I do the same thing when the writer hasn’t done the work to pull me into the fictional world.
There are no “blue” words or “bad” language in my narrative, even when I use first person narration. In dialogue—well, among its many uses, dialogue also reveals the character of the character, doesn’t it?
My characters don’t curse often, but when the situation is appropriate they might. If they do, I write it down. By way of example,
Say a Texas Ranger in the 1880s finds he’s arrived a moment too late to get his love interest off the street during a Comanche raid and finds her arrow-riddled body lying face down (scene). I’m not going to apologize to some reader because the Ranger dismounts and, as he walks over to lift her lifeless body in his arms, he quietly mutters, “Damn it.”
In the article, the author wrote, “I was sort of impressed that she took the time to count all the bad words.”
My immediate thought was that if a reader is counting the number of times I use “damn” (or “that” or “which” or any other word) in my story, I should have written the story better. I should have written the story in such a way that it pulled the reader irretrievably into that world, a place where she might have said or thought “damn” herself.
If you’re attuned to such triggers and if you write into the dark, I suggest doing what I do. During cycling I read for pleasure. If any word—or construction, for that matter—draws attention to itself so strongly that it pulls me from the story, I replace it or fix it.
Of course if you use some other technique for writing, then during the critique-group stage or editing or revision or during one of however many rewrites, you can sanitize everything.
As a writer, I simply write what I’m given. But even as a reader about to step into a garden, I’d much rather go into the garden knowing there at least might be a rattlesnake lurking (and one that’s allowed to rattle and hiss when he feels like it) than one in which only butterflies and beautiful flowers reside.
Talk with you again soon.
See “27 Themed Calls for Submissions” at https://authorspublish.com/27-themed-submissions-calls-for-may-2021/.
See “The Pros and Cons of Using Profanity In Your Stories” at https://killzoneblog.com/2021/05/the-pros-and-cons-of-using-profanity-in-your-stories.html.
See “The difference between children’s and adult books” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-difference-between-childrens-and-adult-books/.
See “The Candidate from Yale” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-candidate-from-yale/. Elegantly written.
The Journal…………………………………… 790 words
Writing of Rider Jones (novel)
the novella brought forward………… 17309 words
Day 7…… 3288 words. Total words to date…… 20597
Day 8…… 5145 words. Total words to date…… 25742
Day 9…… 2732 words. Total words to date…… 28474
Day 10… 4092 words. Total words to date…… 32566
Day 11… 2537 words. Total words to date…… 35103
Day 12… 2813 words. Total words to date…… 37916
Total fiction words for May……… 9442
Total fiction words for the year………… 380721
Total nonfiction words for May… 3170
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 88030
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 468751
Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 60
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.