Swearing in YA Fiction

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m a bit hesitant to use those words. It’s not necessarily because I think swearing will cause the apocalypse or anything, but it could possibly limit my audience to only those teenagers whose parents don’t care about language. That leaves out people like my own mother, though I’m lucky she doesn’t comb every page of a book for things she doesn’t like before letting me read it, who think that swearing is unattractive. I don’t think it would remove kids with strictly religious parents, though, since some of the themes aren’t exactly afterschool special-appropriate anyway.

There has to be a line somewhere. I’ve read novels that have had outright swearing, although uncommon, and I’ve read others where the author merely stated that the character swore. Most of the books I have read, however, avoid it altogether.

I think I’ll keep it to a minimum, and just say that they swore. I’m going to have to seriously tone down the number of times my characters let loose once I begin editing. It’ll be more effective if I only use it in dire situations.


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