RARA-AVIS: Re: Violence for the sake of...?

From: Charlie Williams ( cs_will@btopenworld.com)
Date: 24 Mar 2005

Weighing in late as usual...

I can only speak for myself, but I really think self-censoring is a bogus thing to do. You're a writer - you create lots of characters and make them talk. Being a writer, you're omnipotent, so you get to say "Hey, none of you characters can curse. No bad language at all. I'll consider "fug yeah", and maybe "short, gutteral verb, followed by 'you'". But nothing else. Got that? And if I find any of you swearing behind my back, I'll kick your short, gutteral asses!"

So you've created these fictional people, and now you're imposing your own sense of modesty on them. How true are your characters now? How real can they be, with that constraint? If you're writing about a vicar's tea party, you'd probably get away with it. But even a vicar has a capacity for swearing. Doesn't he? What's he going to want to say, after slopping hot tea down his pants for the fifth time? You don't know. You're holding him back.

And getting sideways of the issue a bit... We're crime readers and writers, right? We read and write about people who kill, steal, torture, maim, defraud, assault, rape, jay walk, etc... Pardon me for being controversial, but I think those guys and gals may well indulge in ripe lingo at times. Bad actions, bad language - which is more acceptable? Is "I'll cut your balls off" more acceptable than "I'll cut your fucking balls off"?

Charlie Williams.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 Mar 2005 EST