Using Slang and Curse words – How Much is Okay?

I’ve seen this topic circulating around the writing community a lot lately: when is it okay to use curse words in your story? And on a related topic: how much current slang is okay?

I believe the short answer is: “it depends.”

By way of a long answer, these are some factors that I think every writer should consider when using slang and/or curse words in their stories:

Intended audience

This is the most important factor, I think.Obviously you wouldn’t put a lot of four-letter words in a children’s book or middle grade chapter book, but intended audience covers more than just children versus adults. Continue reading

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Sequel Syndrome – It’s not a New Thing

You know that awesome movie or book that becomes a sudden best-selling blockbuster? Everyone loves it, so what’s the next thing that happens? Yep – a sequel. And frequently, the sequel is nowhere near as excellent as the first one. Sometimes, if the sequel isn’t a total bomb (or even if it is), then an entire series is spawned out of something that probably should have remained a one-shot. (Anybody remember sequels that shouldn’t have happened, like Jurassic Park II and III, or many of the Disney animated direct-to-video sequels of the 90s?)

This is known as “sequel syndrome,” and it’s not actually something created by Disney or 90s adventure movies.It’s been a thing for about as long as we’ve had commercial entertainment. Continue reading