About Me

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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Oh, Profanity...

So, my ginger cake turned into apple and ginger pie, consumed at midnight with my lovely friends who are pretty much family. It was ok, but not my best. Rubbish pastry, but then I guess I should follow a recipe.

The Fancy Folder for CQ
It's been a while since I posted here, as I have been insanely busy, and I'm really not used to having so little time on my hands. The job is going really well - they've started leaving me on my own now, which is great. Although half the time when the phone rings in those instances, it's someone asking for my colleague. Still, I'm getting there. I've got to know most people and which companies/projects they work for now, there's just a few I'm still getting to know. I've even memorised a few extension numbers. We have a fancy new website, if you care to take a look. 

I was getting a bit frustrated, as I have not been able to do much writing recently. I've had a Local Preaching Assignment to do, a Sunday service to plan, my ongoing ITQ to complete, and now I'm also attending a 10 week long drawing class with the lovely Nikki Joy. But yesterday I overcame this, as I had a bit of scrap paper at the desk, which I was scribbling ideas on when it was quiet. So, I've got a few things to be getting on with, and I drafted a dialogue/argument last night between Joe and Anna, brother and sister, after he has just discovered who she likes to share a bed with. 
My First Draft

One of the things Rob has picked me up on several times when making suggestions for CQ is the amount of swearing. I'm still trying to decide if I see it as a problem. The ruling at Uni was so long as it fits in and adds to the story - don't swear for the sake of it. Most, if not all the swearing in my book is used perfectly naturally and in keeping with the characters. I've tried taking some of them out, but it just makes the characters sound wierd and awkward. I try not to swear a lot myself, but 16/17 year-old college kids tend not to care so much. 
I'd really like to hear what you think about swearing in young adult fiction, or in fiction at all. It used to be something I was really prudish about as a kid, oddly enough. 
As the manuscript currently stands, with 54,138 words, 36 of those are the F word, 11 are the P word, and 7 are the S word. There are a few instances of slightly inflammatory name-calling, but I'm not sure if they count. And I'm not counting the word 'bloody'. 

I've decided that I need a lot more of a view into the world of the antagonist, Andy. We need to see his motivations, his surroundings, all the things that make him the way he is. But also the effect he has on those around him, and the effect they have on him. I want to show more of the dynamic of him and his two friends and how they operate as a group. 

I finally got round to buying Chiodos' new album, Illuminaudio, which I am slightly obsessed with. There's one song in particular, Notes in Constellations, which I cannot get out of my head. It's a wonderful song. It makes me think of Ryan and Lauren. I can't get them out of my head either, and I keep getting ideas of how I can edit little bits or change the dynamic of particular scenes between them. I've already rewritten the crucial scene between them and made it much more realistic, much more affectionate, I guess. Before it was almost too understated. But I've got lots of ideas for them, so it's good.

Let's just hope I can make the time to actually write about it. 

Anyway, I've been trying to keep up with everyone's blogs, and I have to say, it looks like your writing years have all made for a very good start. Well done everyone and keep up the hard work :)

I must go so that I can get some writing done and finish my assignment before our cake party tonight. I love cake. 


  1. concerning won't have been as bad as what i'll be gracing you with this eve. MAJOR FAIL.

  2. A cake party? Without me?! (Yes, I know Hull and Devon aren't nearest neighbours, but I just love cake!) I am going to have an attempt at making that American classic, Whoopie Pies later.

    Anyway, I think swearing is not only OK but necessary if that's how your character would talk. I too, try not to do it myself and at first was really uncomfortable even writing it, but if you leave it out when any "normal" person would swear it makes the dialogue really stilted. Like anything, the more you do it, the less impact it has. I guess it's all about balance - not putting people off your book, not letting the dialogue seem fake, not losing impact. Good luck! (Also remember that one of the biggest buyers for teenage books are still their parents!)

    Good luck too with the assignment and Sunday service :)

    Have you done any research/ got any advice on the right length for a book of this genre?

    Loving the folder ;)

  3. What a pretty folder! Plus I would have loved to try your yummy baked goods! Pastry has always been one of my weak points, even though I am a follower of the book of St. Be-Ro's recipie.

    Good luck with your service. I hope it goes well and will be thinking of you.

    I will agree with Chloe - if your character is the type that swears and uses inappropriate language, then you have to use these words. If you don't you will be damaging that character. From your word count, I would say your language is quite tame, personally. Even though I swear quite a lot when provoked, I always feel uncomfortable when I write offensive language into my stories. Interestingly, I don't have that problem with my fan-fiction stories.

    Just keep working with what feels most comfortable.

    HC xx

  4. As a lover of cake... no, let's not go there.
    If profanity feels like it might be an issue Nari, I have a simple exercise you could try. Next time you're out shopping or near a large school or college just listen to the average conversation. I was a soldier for many years so the phrase, 'swearing like a trooper' was appropriate. Now I've noticed that the worst offenders in the profanity stakes are the teenagers.
    The 'F' word and the others were initially used in public to shock amongst adults and that still works if it's what your character is like. If your character is a modern teenager, male or female it would be more unusual if they didn't swear during normal conversation.
    I find reading a passage aloud gives me a better idea if it works. Best done when you know you'll be on your own...
    Apart from that, I'm pleased to see you've been able to embrace the working world and still feel guilty about not writing enough. LOL.
    Little and often my friend, as long as you're putting in the effort.

  5. Thanks for your help, everyone. I find what you've all said very reassuring. I think I'm going to make a regular sweep of any new text and sift out the swears that can be taken out. There are several occasions, though, where it sounds really awkward with them taken out.
    Chloe, you're right - often it will be the parents buying and this is something I guess I've not really thought about.
    I'll post pictures of the cake party next blog. I had cake for breakfast this morning. This, my friends, is the life.
    Nari X

  6. I LOVE that your writing blog has of late been essentially a cake blog x