A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Language

To a writer, language can mean several different things. It can describe the way the characters articulate themselves, the dialect they speak, but most of all, how believable they are when it comes to dialogue.

The way language is portrayed in each writers' work is telling not only of the characters' personalities, but of the writer and his/her understanding of how to advantageously use this tool to create a story that captivates the reader.

One of the things I first think about when critics mention language in a manuscript is profanity. Different people have different perspectives on what is appropriate for the different age groups. I write all YA and yes, my manuscript is going to have some profanity in it. Teenagers curse. LOL I, admittedly, had a pretty foul potty mouth when I was in my teenage rebellion years.

Of course, some censorship is required because I don't think a book loaded with F bombs is going to go over well with the parental units. But using the occasional "shit", "hell", and "damn" shouldn't be condemned in my opinion. Especially when it's a part of a certain character's way of articulating themselves. Sometimes "shit" does sound much more believable than "sheesh". LOL

What are your thoughts on language in your particular genre of interest?


  1. Love your take on dialogue...Gives a writer something to think about.


  2. This is a sticky, uncomfortable topic for me, as I have two main characters in my current WIP.

    One of them is a clean living type that would rather be caught dead than cuss, and the other uses four letter words occasionally. It's wierd switching back and forth between the two voices.

  3. I also write for teenagers - so my manuscript has a bit of cursing. I think the key is finding a balance so that the curse words don't over shadow the point of the dialogue. Great post! Lots to think about!

  4. I'm not a fan of swearing, but I've read some books where it fits. I get really sick of it when it's repetitive, though. I mean, you don't let you characters roll their eyes every two seconds, so try to be more selective with the swears, too, ya know?