Sex and Cursing in your Story

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chuckt
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Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:17 am

It seems like there may be some cracks appearing in Dave's "rules." I read all the winners in Vol 34. Because my Q1 and Q2 entries contain some cursing and my planned Q3 a reference to sex, I was curious if I had doomed my chances. Maybe not.

SPOILER ALERT

A Bitter Thing and Flee, My Pretty One both have the characters engaging in sex. Heck, it is the central plot point of A Bitter Thing because the alien making her "come" is a drug to him.

There were "shit"s (3), "hell"s (20), "crap's" (7), and "damn"s (14) and one "god damned." Couple of "piss," but no F-bombs. I am using George Carlin's curse word list by the way. There were no "tits," or "MF"s. No "C_nt." No "cock sucker" but "Suck his own Cock" appeared in A Smokeless and Scorching Fire (a 1st place winner)!


HOWEVER-The sex was only in third place stories. "Shit" appeared once in a second place story (the other two appearances were in the two sex stories). "Crap" did appear in Mara's Shadow (Wow, what a story!) and both sex stories. And "suck his own cock" was in a first-place story. Lots of "Damns" and the one GD was in Flee (surprised that one got through).

I note in the introduction that Dave wrote he doesn't like sex in the stories. Interesting.
Last edited by chuckt on Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Dragonchef » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:30 am

And that was pre-Kary English. She might filter more now but, who knows? All we can say is...Good luck with your piece, Chuck. I'm sure it's a great story.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:35 am

Dragonchef wrote:And that was pre-Kary English. She might filter more now but, who knows? All we can say is...Good luck with your piece, Chuck. I'm sure it's a great story.


Was it? Good point. It will be interesting to do this again for Vol 35.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby TimE » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:42 am

I'm fairly sure I read in one of DF's posts that he goes through changing swear words. Presumably, if he doesn't like a piece that much then a lot of sex and cursing might tip it over the edge. But if a piece is good enough, then maybe he edits certain words.
A Bitter Thing surprised me, so I guess if your story appeals to the judges...

Good luck with it.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:43 am

My first short stories all had sailors (the future equivalent of) and merchant mariners in them. And those guys, well, they "curse like sailors." And they talk about sex all the time. So I have a hard time writing that out. If I get the chance to revise, however, I'll definitely tone it down and change the F-bombs to something else.
Last edited by chuckt on Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:46 am

TimE wrote:I'm fairly sure I read in one of DF's posts that he goes through changing swear words. Presumably, if he doesn't like a piece that much then a lot of sex and cursing might tip it over the edge. But if a piece is good enough, then maybe he edits certain words.
A Bitter Thing surprised me, so I guess if your story appeals to the judges...

Good luck with it.


I am really glad to hear that there is a chance he may change the words instead of reject if he likes the story. Not that I presume my stories are otherwise good enough. Compared to the winners I've read, I'm not on that level. I hope to be one day. wotf007 Particularly the first place winners are such great stories! They blew me away!
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby jficke13 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:10 am

While I do know of at least one winner who had their curse words... erm... sanitized during the editing phase, for this market you may want to consider whether it's worth submitting on hard mode by toeing close to a line that a judge has explicitly explained is a potential deal breaker for him.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:16 am

jficke13 wrote:While I do know of at least one winner who had their curse words... erm... sanitized during the editing phase, for this market you may want to consider whether it's worth submitting on hard mode by toeing close to a line that a judge has explicitly explained is a potential deal breaker for him.


I agree. I submitted Q1 and Q2 before I knew of any guidelines. My future entries will be written with the guidelines in mind.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:08 am

A few comments on this topic, and thanks for your research, Chuck. It's informative, and a valid topic to consider. A few years back, Dave knocked a story of mine from his finalist pile for reasons pertinent to this topic. How do I know? You get his critique for semifinalists, and he tells you why he demoted it. While he said on the level of world building alone, my story was likely better than all the other finalists, he pulled mine because of my use of *breast imagery*. In my defense, it was a sea captain rescued by a mermaid, and he was looking up as she cradled his head in her lap. :) No sex. No derogatory words. Clearly, had I toned down my description of naked mermaid breasts, I would have been in. And then you go through the gauntlet of other judges as well, deciding if it's too much or not to put in the volume. Something to think about.

And then we got Volume 34, and everything I was warned about went flying out the window like a cat spotting a wounded bird. Go figure. But it does tell you one thing: If you aren't reading every story in the most current issue, you are going to miss the latest tack of the WotF ship.

I did have a swear word in "Super-duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" in Volume 35. I felt it was necessary. Apparently Dave and the other finalist judges did too. But I will advise all if you're going to go stand on your tippy toes at the edge of the cliff, make sure it's important, and that you have a damn good reason for doing so. : )

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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby TimE » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:27 am

Just read the 1st 2 books of Sanderson's Stormlight Archive - where he uses variations on Storming a lot. That's the beauty of a story not on Earth or in the future or a fantasy - make your cuss words up.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:13 pm

TimE wrote:Just read the 1st 2 books of Sanderson's Stormlight Archive - where he uses variations on Storming a lot. That's the beauty of a story not on Earth or in the future or a fantasy - make your cuss words up.


You're frelling right you can make your own cuss words up! Unless they're from Earth, then it starts sounding frelling silly.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby DoctorJest » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:13 pm

I find curse words work well, but only if they're the perfect word -- which is similar to other words, but with one magnified caveat. Sometimes, they're perfectly timed, or delivered for perfect impact -- but more often they seem lazy and heavy-handed, and serve no purpose. And curse words are particularly glaring if they aren't nailing the effect you're going for. Other words can miss the mark a little and be overlooked. Curse words draw attention by their nature, so if you use them, you have to be sure you're getting it right.

I do use them, but with extreme caution, for much this reason -- I have been jarred clean out of fiction, sometimes by excellent writers who I love, when they did this. I assume I could just as easily shunt someone out of my story if I'm not careful.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby TimE » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:55 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:
TimE wrote:Just read the 1st 2 books of Sanderson's Stormlight Archive - where he uses variations on Storming a lot. That's the beauty of a story not on Earth or in the future or a fantasy - make your cuss words up.


You're frelling right you can make your own cuss words up! Unless they're from Earth, then it starts sounding frelling silly.


I find myself attracted to the use of behooving. It has an old-fashioned feel to it. … get you behooving feet out of my garden else I'll... (Work in progress...)
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Dragonchef » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:34 am

Then there's the proper dictionary terminology: "Go intercourse thyself!"
But some might not work well: "She fellatioed her boyfriend until he fainted." That doesn't work well, in my opinion.
Of course there's the UK way: "What a bloody mess." or "Sod off, ya wanker." or "Have you got a dilly stuck up yer arse?"
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby morganb » Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:08 am

Wulf Moon wrote:You're frelling right you can make your own cuss words up! Unless they're from Earth, then it starts sounding frelling silly.


I think you have to be very careful when making up your own swear words. They should make sense within the environment and/or culture of the story you're building. One of the things I HATED about Battlestar Galactica was their constant use of the word "frack" as a simple replacement for the F-Bomb. "Frack" in and of itself makes absolutely no sense within the context of the show, has no allusion to anything in the BSG universe, and you could tell they were only using it because the REAL word couldn't be said on prime time television. It came across as just sounding stupid, and was a major turn-off for me every time I heard it. I've experienced the same effect in every story I've ever read where the author is simply substituting some new word for it's present-day English equivalent. If you're going to do it, at least make the new word meaningful within the reference of the story world.

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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby RSchibler » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:00 am

I think Firefly is one of the best examples of how to do this excellently. It enriched the setting by using the Chinese.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:11 am

RSchibler wrote:I think Firefly is one of the best examples of how to do this excellently. It enriched the setting by using the Chinese.


I like this idea. I was just yesterday searching for some words from other languages.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Dragonchef » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:06 am

Don't forget the Klingon "petaQ" (best translation I can find is "Bastard")
And you can go here for some ideas: https://whatculture.com/offbeat/22-amaz ... -real-life
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:02 am

Aw, nobody got my frelling reference? Frack! I'm so old...
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:15 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Aw, nobody got my frelling reference? Frack! I'm so old...

I got it, Wulf. Farscape was my jam back in the day--as was The Invisible Man, which aired on the same night for a bit. The characters in Farscape were wonderful.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Dragonchef » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:16 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Aw, nobody got my frelling reference? Frack! I'm so old...

Farscape. I also made reference to it way back when this thread first started.
Wait...no, that's a different thread. Oops.
Last edited by Dragonchef on Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Dragonchef » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:17 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Aw, nobody got my frelling reference? Frack! I'm so old...

I got it, Wulf. Farscape was my jam back in the day--as was The Invisible Man, which aired on the same night for a bit. The characters in Farscape were wonderful.

YES! We used to have pizza parties on Friday nights to watch it.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby Wulf Moon » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:21 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Aw, nobody got my frelling reference? Frack! I'm so old...

I got it, Wulf. Farscape was my jam back in the day--as was The Invisible Man, which aired on the same night for a bit. The characters in Farscape were wonderful.


Yay. My people! I felt like I was making Leave it to Beaver references there for a moment! wotf001
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby RSchibler » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:55 am

I just finished showing Farscape to my husband. I think we all thought it was ubiquitous enough, comment was unneeded lol. And we were right!
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:08 am

Dragonchef wrote:
disgruntledpeony wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Aw, nobody got my frelling reference? Frack! I'm so old...

I got it, Wulf. Farscape was my jam back in the day--as was The Invisible Man, which aired on the same night for a bit. The characters in Farscape were wonderful.

YES! We used to have pizza parties on Friday nights to watch it.

*leans in close, whispers* Dude, I used to write Invisible Man fanfiction back in the day. Something like 150k words total, between all the stories? Looking back on them, they're--they're really bad, but they also got me writing, so... yeah....
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby OldDarth » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:49 pm

Firefly, Farscape, and the recent Battlestar Galactica all had wonderful swear words.

Me and couple of my podcast mates did an entire series podcast review of each episode of Farscape a couple of years ago. You can check it over at Facebook - Scaper Chronicles - http://tinyurl.com/yyaj4oh6. The episodes are in the process of being migrated to a new home so they probably aren't available right now.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby ddonche » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:41 pm

I guess the tastes have changed over the years. I'm currently reading volume XVI, and the word "fuck" appears like six different times in Atlantis, Ohio, along with a few other words like "shit." Of course, this one was edited by Algis Budrys. I think a few other stories in there have swear words.
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:48 am

ddonche wrote:I guess the tastes have changed over the years. I'm currently reading volume XVI, and the word "fuck" appears like six different times in Atlantis, Ohio, along with a few other words like "shit." Of course, this one was edited by Algis Budrys. I think a few other stories in there have swear words.

Yeah, Algis may have had different criteria. They also might not have been specifically aiming at teenage boys as their audience at the time.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:54 pm

In volume 35 I found

Shit 9
Crap 3
Damn 38!
GD 1
Hell 14

I’ve only read a few stories so far. No sex scenes yet

No F-bombs
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Re: Sex and Cursing in your Story

Postby chuckt » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:46 am

Finished reading the stories. No sex this time or any references to sex (unless I missed something).
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