“It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It’s my partner.” — Jonas Salk, Developer of the Polio vaccine
Given that I have so much work to do, the idea of blogging right now feels downright sinful. Sinful, I say! But I did take a peek at Meg Cabot’s blog and found it immensely cheering. Also cool is Tess Gerritsen’s post on using the “F” word in her books. Tess blames it all on her characters, and what she says holds true for me, as well. The men and women in my books talk the way they talk, and if they’ve got rough mouths, then by God, I am not going to censor them. Because if I did, characters like Keeli Maddox and Dean Campbell would suddenly have gags in their mouths, and that would be a violation of who they are inside my head.
Which isn’t to say that I don’t know how to write without profanity. I most certainly do. But here’s the thing: In real life, not everyone talks pretty. Forget swear words, even. There are rhythms to language, uses of slang and shortcuts in sentences, that by themselves might sound rough or insulting without ever adding a four letter word. The same is true in reverse. I’ve heard little old women speak in the most vile ways without ever raising their voices or using profanity. I’ve heard grown men swear like the sky is falling down and have it sound like poetry. It’s just a matter of perspective. It’s also, as a writer, a matter of knowing your characters well enough to feel out how they would talk. And then having the courage to play it out the way it should fly.
In case you’re wondering, though, I have had to tone down my language exactly once. That was for the X-Men book. Because, well, the Wolverine in my head can spin off the cuss words like nobody’s business, and that’s not safe. It’s also not safe for him to be attracted to women and make advances on them, but that’s another story entirely. Dude. I should really add a ‘deleted scenes’ section to my site.
Anyway, my hands hurt. I’m on to the braces now, and band-aids. Really, no joke. I was walking Lucky the other day and he ripped the leash out of my hand, along with a good deal of skin. I can actually tell my editor that I’ve been bleeding on the keyboard. Oh, joy.