Sunday, 19 April 2015

P is for...Profanity

Today's A to Z Challenge post is brought to you by the letter P!

YA books can come with a lot of controversies: sex, drugs, violence, murder, war, death...and swearing.

A lot of people don't mind profanity in YA books - it can make them seem more realistic, it can add to a particular scene and it can show you certain parts of a character's personality. However, a lot of readers also don't like swearing in YA books - it can seem ugly and unnecessary, it might not fit with the setting (i.e. are we going to have the same swear words in the future that we do now?) and it might lead younger readers into bad habits.

While I can see both sides of the argument, personally, I don't mind swearing in YA books. Just like some will drink underage and have sex, most teenagers do swear - I know I did. It's their choice. It really pulls me out of a story when I'm reading an emotionally charged scene, and one of the characters suddenly says, 'what the fudge?', or 'I frigging hate you.' I really really dislike it. But that's just my opinion, and I respect anyone who doesn't wish to see bad language in the books they read - again, it's their choice.

I use the same principle in my own writing. My characters swear - not all the time, just whenever they're angry or frustrated - much like I do in real life. I know many readers won't like this aspect of my books, and that's fine, but I'm simply trying to keep it realistic. When I use swearing in my novels, I'm using it for a reason. I choose all my words with care - whether I'm describing a scene, or two characters are having an argument - I'll choose words appropriate to that setting, whether that includes swearing or not.

I might be alienating readers by including swearing in my work, but to be honest, that's just the writer I am. I'm not doing it to deliberately shock, or to be different - I do it because it fits that particular story. I won't add in any profanity if I don't think it'll add anything to a scene or to a character's personality, but equally, I won't shy away from it either.

How about you? What do you think about profanity in YA books? Do you agree/disagree with it? I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


  1. I don't mind profanity either. Most people curse. Especially when they are angry. It only makes sense to have characters in books so the same thing. I let my characters curse when I know I'd curse. :P

    Teens curse most of all, so I don't care if there is cursing in them. And I'm actually more drawn to YA books with drug use, drinking, sex, etc. because they are so real. The stories are good and they actually teach lessons to teens.

    1. That's how I feel too :)! Although I like sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy YA books, I still prefer those that do have some element to realism in them. Thanks for stopping by, Chrys :)!


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