"No great deed is done by
falterers who ask for certainty."
(Mary Anne (alternatively Mary Ann or Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot)
This blog is reaching some distant places. 'Gunnedah Hero' has been included in a reading group on a top independents website in the UK: http://www.wisegreyowl.co.uk/php/content.php?PageName=Home&Books=RG Also, a top literary person in Belgium has requested a copy of the short story I mentioned in my blog of 13 July 2012 - 'A Rose for Anna'.
Writing tip of the day:
Although I've been known to drop some clangers in conversations, I do not use profanity in my manuscripts. Why, because I do not think you need to. My job is to boss words around, not try and impress people with profanity. Yes, I have used the occasional 'shit' or 'bastard' in my work, but only when it is necessary, or for emphasis. Using such words sparingly gives them more value. A few months ago I started to read a book from one of Australia's young star authors. However, I got to page seven and found the F-word mentioned seven times on the one page. It was overkill. I flipped ahead and found similar pages and discontinued reading the book. I probably sound like a prude. Wrong! Ask anyone who knows me. His overuse of the F-word was boring; even irritating.
'KY!' is the story of a young Muslim refugee girl who is bullied by two girls at school. This is what I wrote:
"The next morning Rida found awful notes in her locker. Pimples and her friend had obviously poked them through the small air vents in the metal door. She read them, scowled angrily and screwed them up. One of their notes said three words: “F -- k Off Terrorist!” Rida mouthed the words and wanted to walk directly to their lockers and scrawl three similar words on their lockers: F -- k Off Bullies! Instead, she walked away but she knew there would come a day when she’d be so angry she’d write something on their lockers. That day was looming."
Question: why did I place dots and not write the full F-word? Easy. Teens know what it's all about, so I let them fill in the dots themselves and chuckle.
I would not be considered politically correct - at all. At one point in 'Gunnedah Hero' Smokey reminisces about his Pop rolling cigarettes. This is what I wrote about that subject:
"I loved the smell of his cigarettes, and watching the slick way he rolled them. I think he enjoyed me watching him do it. He would pull out a small portion of the tobacco and roll it between his two large palms, with one of the small
cigarette papers sitting on his bottom lip in readiness. When the tobacco had
been sufficiently rubbed he’d fold it gently in the paper and roll it quickly
and neatly. Then he’d lick the edge of the paper to seal it. The final act was
to pinch off the end, pop it in his mouth and light up. It fascinated me.
Sometimes he made two cigarettes at the one time and stored one behind his ear for later. How he managed to juggle a cigarette on his bottom lip staggered me. It would cling to his lip even when he was talking – bobbing up and down as his mouth moved."
Comment: my editor commented that some teachers, parents and others might consider this paragraph to be unsuitable for kids, bearing in mind the dangers of smoking. She also mooted that it might be seen to be encouraging kids to smoke. However, I disagreed. Why, because the story is historical fiction and the year was 1910. The story would have had no historical significance if I'd removed everything that was now considered to be politically correct. Many folks rolled cigarettes or smoked pipes in those times.
HOWEVER, it's your manuscript and your choice. You choose what you want to include in your manuscript, whether it's profanity or stuff that is deemed to be politically correct. But, some publishers, parents, grandparents, librarians or teachers may not accept or buy your work if it is too over the top. The same goes for violence and any other socially unacceptable behaviour. Don't forget. Every aspect of your book will contribute to its sales: cover, font size, blurb, language etc.
Don't be shy ... leave a comment or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for listening.
I'm Clancy Tucker.