Hi. I am teaching a small group of writers who have ongoing projects, either novel or memoir. It's an interesting group with enough different points of view to be both challenging and supportive, as I hoped it would be.
One of the writers has "those words" in his novel. Another writer hears the words and shuts down. I'm not going to tell Writer A to clean it up--but I do want him to be aware of the consequences of choice--and I'm not going to insist that Writer B join the 21st Century--although I wish he could get through the trees to see the forest.
Thoughts? Suggestions? When you drop a word bomb, and why? When do you hold back, and why? Anyone have any favorite advice from experts?
Hello Fearless Leader!
Wow... This is a tough one.
As writers we know writing is an art. Art is a form of beautiful self-expression. I personally feel like self-expression cannot be limited to a specific type of vocabulary. Writer A may have faced such outrage in his life that he feels like "those words" are the only words that can express the depths of his emotions. Who knows?
Now, I also empathize with Writer B. Some people will never find "those words" acceptable - ever.
Here's what I suggest, if possible, make a blanket statement to the class. Let them know that while everyone's work is indeed self-expression, not everyone is comfortable with every form of self-expression. If at any time, anyone finds that another writer's work to be offensive, quietly and respectfully remove himself or herself from the setting without causing commotion.
Let me know if this helps at all. I hope it does.
Thanks so much for reading my post. I hope everything works out.
I think the offended writer needs lighten up.
As for dirty words in general, I think they have more impact when used sparingly. Swearing just to swear is tacky.
I get offended by the content or implication of something. I never understand why we have this list of individual words that are forbidden. Especially when it's acceptable to just replace them with "darn" or "freaking".