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Appropriate inappropriate langu

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[middle-schoolers] ... swear - a lot! (Still, not appropriate to put in an MG book, sure. Don't want to encourage it!)
That's all I'm saying. Descriptive becomes Prescriptive once it hits the eyeballs of a reader. Do juvies (or anybody else, ftm) really need to be taught to swear?
#31 - January 11, 2016, 12:09 PM
Persist! Craft improves with every draft.

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Putting on my admin hat for a second here:  :cop2

Let's please try to keep this conversation on topic (the OP was asking what words ARE appropriate for MG) and not get into the territory of name-calling or gratuitous argument with those who hold different opinions or have had different experiences. *admin hat off*

I think you can use what word you feel is age-appropriate and authentic for your character, (keeping in mind things like F-bombs and even some that are obviously a stand in for an F-bomb, are not going to go over well for MG) and if an agent or an editor has a problem with it, they will simply ask you to choose a different word. It happens all the time. Don't sweat it too much.

#32 - January 11, 2016, 01:18 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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To me, there's a difference between middle-grade readers (elementary school) and middle schoolers -- so if I'd heard an agent/editor say that middle-grade swearing was unrealistic, I'd probably agree (for most kids -- there are always a couple here and there). But yes, middle schoolers definitely swear (usually more than some high schoolers around here, but I think that's because they want to appear 'cool').

I think swearing in MG books is usually rare (though I will admit I don't read a ton of MG since I no longer teach those grades). Even heavy swearing in YA isn't that common, and S is pretty rare, though h*ll and d*mn are more common. For a 9 or 10 year old stepping on a snake, I think a scream would be pretty realistic. For a 13-year old...maybe a yell or a *crap*. I think either of my kids (12 and 13.5) would say either crap or OMG. I guess I'd say there's a fair amount of leeway, so perhaps your character's voice/personality can determine it.
#33 - January 11, 2016, 02:26 PM
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My kids grew up in a Christian household (yes, with me). They managed to be pretty creative. "Oh, fudgies" or "he's having a kitten" we're pretty common. Take any word and it can replace profanity. Sci-fi writers simply insert another language. Kids can sometimes do the same.
#34 - January 24, 2016, 03:01 PM
Ron Estrada
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