First of all, I don't want to write sex scenes. I sincerely don't. Call me Prudence McPrude or what you will, but that's not my thing. (FWIW, I also skip sex scenes when I run across them in books.) In today's market, I think that points to Middle Grade books, but I'm not sure that writing for kids is really my thing either.
The other genre it kinda points to is Christian. I usually define myself as a Christian writer anyway, considering that I'm a Christian who happens to write, and that genre is a good way to steer clear of the sex scenes. Mostly. I still see plenty of Christian novels that describe steamy, married, monogamous sex. Are there really that many Christian women who want to read this stuff that the authors keep writing it? It would seem that there are, and yet I still don't want to read OR write it.
Then there's the matter of swearing. (Sarah wrote an excellent post about whether or not to swear in YA, if anyone is interested in joining that discussion.) Stephen King is right when he says in On Writing that more people swear than don't. Between hanging out with college students and riding the local bus, I get enough exposure to how regular people talk to know that I can't expect to publish for any other market except Christian or kidlit without including a heavy dose of "normal" language. (Amusing diversion: I have an uncle who seems to think that one particular swear word is the verbal form of punctuation. He uses this word at the end of nearly every sentence, regardless of whether or not it relates to the subject matter.)
I have to agree that since I'm frequently exposed to language of all sorts, both in life and in the range of genres that I read, I find it jarring to read a book and not find any swearing in it, not even at times when one might expect a mild expletive or two (for instance, a non-Christian character who is on drugs but still uses pristine language). So I see Mr. King's point. And therein lies my dilemma: Do I write in a way that's true to life, or do I keep everything squeaky-clean for the Christian market? Do I use the device that other Christian authors often bring out, and write "a string of expletives came from the man's mouth" or something along those lines?
|When in doubt, have a cuppa.|
At this rate, I may cause a
world tea shortage.
Writer friends: How do you know what genre you are writing in? Do you not-quite-fit into more that one category?