23 October 2007

Me, a Prude?

So, I'm always looking for ways to be a better writer. I'm always seeking to improve myself and my craft. I was reading some poetry and short stories the other day by people who are actually published in reputable literary journals and magazines. The proverbial "they" say that's the best way to figure which journals/mags are the best fit for your own personal work. Makes sense. I think it's also a good way to see how other writers write, and how what they do can help me improve my own work.

So, the point of this is that as I was reading one story that I particularly liked, I came to realize something.

I think I may be a prude! Not me as a person, literally, but in my writing sometimes. I don't use too many curse words, and when I do, I use the safe ones. Hell. Damn. Stuff like that. I can't even remember the last time I dropped the f-bomb in a short story or a poem. I don't really even say it that often (although I did write an interesting bit about how much I liked the word back in high school...maybe I should dig that out). And I've never used the c-word. You know, the one that is a derogatory term for a woman's.... ah, you know it. See, I can't even write it to discuss it! I don't like that word. I scold my husband whenever he uses it.

But that doesn't mean a character can't use it! That doesn't mean I can't use it in my writing to convey a point!

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go around writing stuff with a bunch of swear words in it or anything like that. But these kinds of words can serve a real purpose in writing, whether they convey a character's personality, set a mood or theme, or invoke some kind of response from the reader.

When I read over the stuff I've written in the past, it sometimes seems so..... I don't know. Maybe too much like me. I want to have my own personal style and voice, but maybe it's getting in the way? I think my writing can be very politically correct sometimes. Which, I guess I'd have to truthfully say, is exactly how I can be sometimes. I don't want to be un-PC, but I don't want that to interfere with a good story, either.

I think I need to take more risks. In my writing, that is. Although more risk-taking in my own personal life may translate onto paper, too. We'll see. I'll have to work on this one.

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