Yesterday I grumbled a bit about swearing in a YA book I recently read (and greatly enjoyed), Kids of Appetite. While I still don’t like swearing in general, and especially in YA, it was random because that same exact day I saw Maggie Stiefvater address the topic on her Twitter. Someone had tweeted her saying that they had enjoyed the lack of profanity in Stiefvater’s most recent book, All the Crooked Saints. Stiefvater replied:
Intentional! Scorpio Races is also mostly without swears. Pip Bartlett is 100% profanity free. I use it as shorthand — if I think a book has difficult content a younger reader ought to talk through with an adult, I throw in swears to make sure it gets labeled for older readers.
Difficult content, in my opinion: suicide, self-harm, abuse, drug or alcohol use, an excessive number of Latin verbs.
While I can’t imagine that every author uses (or doesn’t use) swearing as thoughtfully, I thought that it was an intriguing methodology, and a reminder that just because I like or don’t like something that an author has done, doesn’t mean that that thing was done thoughtlessly.