A few years ago, I picked up a Stephen King novel (I can’t even remember what it was titled) and tried to read it. It was the first time I had the desire to read one of his books. There were so many F-bombs in the first two chapters that I just could not continue. I put it down and haven’t picked up one of his books since that day. Writing fiction is about telling a story, bringing characters to life, and entertaining the masses with a great novel. I get that, I truly do. And I know what the world is like and how ordinary people talk.
I’ve just decided that I don’t need that kind of language in my own novels.
It is a personal choice, and I’m certainly not trying to bash other authors who chose to use offensive language in their works. I have nothing against them at all. In fact, my favorite author of all time is Dean Koontz. He has bad words sprinkled throughout his novels, but not every other sentence. They aren’t enough to where I get so tired of reading curse words and close the book as I did with Mr. King’s. I honestly don’t see the need for it.
Now, maybe it is because I’m a Christian and I don’t talk like that anymore. I used to swear like a sailor, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to the fact that a profane word slips out every now and again, but I don’t want it in my stories. I want my kids to pick up my novels one day and read them all from cover to cover. If I’m setting an example in my daily life for them with my actions, but writing vulgar words in my books, how will they know which lead to follow?
My very first novel is entitled Hollow Eyes (which I’m in the process of rewriting, by the way), and I had some elements in there that I now realize I don’t care for. I guess, at that time, I felt the need to write curse words and gory descriptions in order to sell books. That was nearly fifteen years ago. Now, it’s not about writing what I think is going to sell a million books. It’s about the legacy I leave behind for my children. I don’t want them to be embarrassed, twenty years down the road, when they have friends over, and they are looking through the things I wrote while still alive on this Earth. I want them to be proud of my work and have the desire to share it with the rest of the world.
That is why I write clean.
I’ve recently joined the growing number of indie authors who self-publish online, and I’ve met some truly awesome people. It is an amazing sense of camaraderie and encouragement that I get on a daily basis. Whether it’s people retweeting me on Twitter, or giving me a positive review on one of my stories, they are there not only to promote themselves, but the rest of us who are in the same boat. It’s satisfying to know I’m not alone in the overwhelming world of being an author and trying to get my name known to the millions of people who purchase books online.
As I mentioned earlier, this post is not intended to bash authors who use cursing in their stories. It’s not about that at all. This is just a declaration of where I stand on the issue and my reasons for it. I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my words. It wasn’t my intention whatsoever. Having said that, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Feel free to comment.