Posted by Jean on Jun 29th, 2012 | 5 comments
This isn’t a “Dear Writer” advice column. Occasionally, however, we receive questions from our readers. We recently received the following from L.F. We think it might interest you and even motivate you to share your thoughts with us in a comment.
Hey! It might even motivate me to Tweet about this!
L.F.’s note follows:
Realizing my manuscript needed feedback, I joined an online critique group. Not just any group, mind you. This group was through a world-wide organization of writers. Each week one writer could submit up to two chapters for critique by the other members of the group. The members then had one week to critique the manuscript and relay comments to the author.
Three weeks came and went and I saw three different manuscripts by three different authors. What I read was appalling, to put it mildly. The overall manuscripts were fine – in need of some work – much like my own. But, what concerned me was the language these three authors used. Keep in mind, these chapters were for middle graders and teens.
In the first manuscript, the language was coarse, crass, and off-color to say the least. I critiqued the work to the best of my ability, but I couldn’t help myself. Perhaps it was the “Southerner” in me or the “mother” coming out, but I had to comment.
The second week was much the same only the language was worse. In fact, it was outright obscene and filthy – by any standards. You guessed it. Once again, I had to comment.
When I began the third manuscript, I stopped midway. At that point, I dropped out of the critique group – but not before, once again, rising to my soap box.
Why do some writers feel they must stoop to the language of the streets in order to reach the nation’s young people? Are our youth so ignorant that they cannot understand plain, simple, well written dialect?
I shout an absolute — NO!
Please, tell me who decided that writers of today should stoop to the language of the gutter in order to reach our children?
We live in difficult times. Children attend school with dirty clothes and empty bellies. They sit in classrooms and struggle against depression. They fight to remain drug and alcohol free. The leaders they look to pelt them with ways to have sex, not ways to avoid it. Must we, as writers, add to the struggle our children face? Should we not rise above the times and set the example for a lost and dying world?
As Christian writers we don’t have to preach Jesus with every manuscript, as much as we would like to. But we sure don’t have to stoop to using the language of the streets to reach our children.
Grandma said: “What’s in the well comes out in the bucket.” Grandma was right! So, what is in your bucket? How do you handle “the language of the world” in your writing? Do you think Christian books and articles should use questionable language or not?
I’d love to read what Write2Igniters have to say about this subject.