Friday, May 13, 2011

Hey, Potty Mouth, Think of the Wee Children!

So, I have no problem with people being themselves and swearing like sailors on their blogs. In fact, on a lot of occasions I think it's funny and even warranted. Recently I came across the blog of an aspiring middle-grade writer and his posts were let's just say full of four-letter words and racy comments.

My concern, if you're a regular blogger who writes for kids, is the swearing and/or suggestive post/remarks okay? I think if you're a YA writer (depending on what type of YA audience you're going for) it might be completely expectable. For example, if you're writing really edgy YA, it may be okay, even good, to have an edgy blog. But if you're strictly writing for middle-graders should you keep it free of the F-bomb, etc?

I've always kept my blog clean. Sure, I get mad. I've even been known to shout out a foul word here and there. My husband doesn't say I have the mouth of a truck driver for nothing, but on my blog I keep it clean. Kids and parents may visit it. In fact I know they visit it. As a parent, if I were considering a book for my middle-grader and I popped on the writers blog, there's a very good chance I'd not get the book if I saw something like...well...!#$%^&*(#$@!! all over the blog.

Oh, and don't forget, kids' agents and editors check out blogs all the time. Would this turn them off too?

What's your take? 

Happy Friday! Hilary

15 comments:

  1. I agree. Writers are creative people, right? I would think middle-grade and children's authors would have a great time coming up with alternatives that are more goofy than offensive.

    And if they're stuck for words that convey the extent of their emotions, Roald Dahl has some lovely made-up expletives they can borrow :)

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  2. Nice post. You need to think of your audience. I write mostly for younger children and I try to always keep in mind that not only do children and parents visit my blog, but so do teachers. And librarians. And kids researching school assignments from school computers. And people who might hire me to do school visits.

    A blog is like renting a billboard on a major freeway in a big city, not a note passed to your best friend during math class. And it stays in cyberspace forever. What do you want your blog to say about you?

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  3. Jess, yes! We just saw Hoodwinked and they replace bad words with "Oh, muffins!" I taught my 3 year old to say fiddle sticks when she's angry! :)

    Judy, excellent point! I just got a big speaking engagement at a middle-school and it was because they went on my blog after reading my book! That is so true!

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  4. Yes, there are lots of alternatives. My little boys are into Winnie the Pooh right now, so we have a lot of "Oh, bother!" around here. Which is incredibly cute when your two year old says it - haha!

    As a parent, I wouldn't want my kid visiting a blog with language they themselves weren't allowed to say. I'm all for free speech and all the rest, but there's also a sense of professional responsibility.

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  5. Yeah, I hope that wasn't me you're talking about. I usually say fudgesicles around the kiddos, and that's pretty good, because I work in a prison where the swearing is more frequent than running water.

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  6. I think swearing on an MG author's site is unacceptable. Even though I talk about writing mostly, I make sure that I'm not using words that I wouldn't put in my book. I agree that if I were checking out another MG author's site and found inappropriate words, I'd be sure to not let me kids spend any time on that site.

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  7. Marissa, I'm so teaching my daughter "Oh bother"! Love that expression. :)

    Jared, I think you need to write an MG story about working in a prison! I don't know how you'd weave it all together, but it sounds like it could be fascinating! And no, I was not talking about you, silly! ;) Ha, ha!

    Kris, I always try and put myself in other readers shoes when I write my posts. How will they take what I'm saying? Even when it comes to adult readers. Writing can come off as offensive even when it's the last thing you want to be.

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  8. Great idea, Hilary! *brainstorming* How do I make it G rated? Wait. I think I have an idea. Now, if this thing gets written and published, I'm dedicating it to you, Hilary.

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  9. My blog is clean but my LJ is NOT :)

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  10. I'm with you on this, Hilary. IMO, a blog is part of a writer's professional platform. You need to always be aware of your audience and treat them with respect.

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  11. Good post, Hilary. I agree.

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  12. Yeah. If you're an MG writer, you gotta keep the blog PGish. I mean, the hope is that the kiddos will show up there someday, right? I have private forums with friends where we throw out the naughty words. If people need a release, that's where they should take it...somewhere private.

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  13. My WHOLE LIFE is G-rated now that I am a MG author AND I AM NOT USED TO IT! :)

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  14. Maybe I'm a fussy old school marm (...actually, not "maybe". I AM), but i think it's totally inappropriate. My philosophy is to live a life that does not disrespect my profession or the children I work with (and now write for).

    I just see no place for it. It makes me uncomfortable when former colleagues set a poor public example for their students. I feel the same way with writers. Maybe another reason I write MG?

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  15. Personally, my YA novel has a lot of foul language, because that's how I talked at that age, and that's how the characters in my story would talk, if they were real.

    But I don't swear on my blog, at least not very often, and I would never swear on this one. It's just a different venue from a novel, and it doesn't feel professional.

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!