Monday, September 22, 2008

Funday Monday~Vulgarity

Vulgarity ~

Should we use vulgarity in our writing? Only if it suits the character you are writing for. I see many authors who like to use it like spilt milk, they’re all over the place with it. But I ask you this, does it really enhance the story?

Stephen King says in his book On Writing, don’t skirt around the talk just because it isn’t in you, the writer, to use foul language. Remember this is a character and if a gun-toting butt kicker comes into a bar and he is in the middle of starting a gang war, would he ask if he could use the bathroom to take a pee? No, he’d sure enough use the vulgar term and say, "Where’s the shithouse, I need to piss!"

I’ve read tons of Dean Koontz books and I am hard pressed to find a vulgar word even with his tough characters. It doesn’t take away from the character, Mr. Koontz I assume, finds it an unnecessary way to move the story forward. Don’t get me wrong, he has used vulgar words when they ARE necessary but they don’t absorb his book like a sponge in water. He is very adamant about writing his story with the respect of the reader in mind. Does he sell top-sellers? Repeatedly!

The choice is yours as the author to where you want to take your novel or short story. Keep in mind your reader though because they will be the ones who either like or dislike what you are writing and they are the ones who will PAY to read you.

Today’s Funday Monday Words:

vulgar ~
1. characterized by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste: vulgar ostentation.
2. indecent; obscene; lewd: a vulgar work; a vulgar gesture.
3. spoken by, or being in the language spoken by, the people generally; vernacular: vulgar tongue.
4. lacking in distinction, aesthetic value, or charm; banal; ordinary: a vulgar painting.

banal ~ commonplace; tired or petty

profane ~
1. characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.
2. not devoted to holy or religious purposes; unconsecrated; secular
3. to treat (anything sacred) with irreverence or contempt; violate the sanctity of: to profane a shrine.
4. to misuse (anything that should be held in reverence or respect); defile; debase; employ basely or unworthily.

obscene ~
1. offensive to morality or decency; indecent; depraved: obscene language.
2. causing uncontrolled sexual desire.
3. abominable; disgusting; repulsive.

vernacular ~
1. (of language) native or indigenous
2. expressed or written in the native language of a place, as literary works: a vernacular poem.
3. using plain, everyday, ordinary language.


Anonymous said...

I've noticed Koontz's ability to keep the language at a minimum. While vulgarity does reflect the truth of live characters, I've always felt, on paper, vulgarity has too much weight. It pops out of the page. It's distracting and often times distasteful.Having walked the halls of our local community college, I've heard language misused and overused. In the end, I think it creates visual and emotional overload for the reader. If you have to use it, so be it, but remember, lots of readers are going to react, not all favorably.

Make sure when you employ this kind of dialogue, it is relevant to the character.


joni said...

The vulgarity doesn't make the novel any better.

It is only through the character that the vulgarity is needed and ONLY if it fits the context.

I find it unnecessary, but then again, that is just me.

Thanks for visiting! :-)