I have decided to attempt to make my book slightly more YA-friendly. I am doing a “find and replace” for all curse words.
I read a story recently which I felt went a little overboard on this – they punished one of the characters every time he said “dang.” Dang? Really? I’m sorry, but I don’t consider that much of a curse word.
I am, however, plagued by the memory of the two-hour lecture (just kidding – it was only about 20 minutes) (or maybe five, but the way my ears smarted, it felt longer) I got from my nephew for using the words “hell” and “damn” in my book. I have never considered myself one who bows to peer pressure, but, let’s face it – my nephew is not my peer. He is my nephew.
I have read comments on blog posts from writers who discussed how they deal with their kids or parents or other family members reading what they have written. Many said they used a pen name and just didn’t let them read it. Some said they told them a brief synopsis and said it was their choice if they read it or not (most of these discussions had to do with sex in the book). Originally, I was going to go with a pen name. I even have one created on Smashwords already. But, I’m just not that good with secrets, and when pretty much the only thing I have going on in my incredibly interesting life (I like to think I’m just very *focused*) is writing, I can only say “oh, nothing,” so many times when people ask what I’ve been up to before they then start to wonder if I’ve been plotting world domination (that’s just a hobby, I promise). So, they all know about the book (books) now.
For the last year, I was just writing for me. I suppose I could still do that, but I learned a valuable lesson this week. I sent the Word file of the latest version of the book out to several people to beta read for me. And, I am now having panic attacks. Maybe just writing for me was the best idea, LOL. The worst panic attack, however, came when my nephew wanted to read it. I wasn’t going to send it to him. I kept thinking of scenes I really didn’t want him to read. I decided I needed to revise the entire thing – again – before he could read it. He said I didn’t need to do that. I took a deep breath and hit send.
Wow do I regret that. The “S Health” app on my phone agrees. My stress level and heart rate have both been higher than normal since then! LOL.
I think I am going to nickname my nephew Jiminy, and have him help me edit it for YA. If, that is, he isn’t scarred for life by the book. I’m quite certain it isn’t as bad as I think it is, but when you are having non-stop panic attacks, it’s hard to see it that way…