We cut swearing, too, why aren’t we famous?

All this fuss over the author that replaced a vowel to turn a very nasty word into a slightly rude word….

Meanwhile, the press has yet to make heroes/victims out of myself and my co-author Michael Hemphill, for swabbing out Stonewall Hinkleman’s potty mouth with a bar of Irish Spring.

The ARC has got the swears, but the finished book won’t. Gail Gauthier commented on another post to say:

 I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m so happy to have an arc with the swearing intact. Swearing interests me.

Actually ,I don’t normally like swearing in kid’s books, but a good deal of it crept into Stonewall. It sounded very natural for a 21st-century kid  to say *&#( and %$$& when he was nearly getting bayonetted by a real Civil War soldier.

My mother disapproved, but ….

Then a teacher read the book and suggested we cut the cussing to make it more classroom friendly.

Was there some sort of angst-ridden moral dilemma about the sanctity of our work and the use of *^&#^ in context?

Nope. We cheerfully cleaned up the language and inserted some new words that are perhaps not profane, but certainly get the point across.

Using the swear words helped us write the book in. To use the language that naturally entered our heads and move on. But moving back in to tweak those words, hasn’t done much damage and may have actually added some texture to the book. (Somewhat like the use of “kneebiter” in “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.”)

Basically, we want kids to read the book and we hope teachers will use it as a teaching aid. It IS historically accurate after all and follows very closely the actual events of the day-long Battle of Bull-Run that opened the Civil War. Why let a couple of *#^#s stand in the way of kids reading it?


One Response

  1. Well, I’m happy either way. However, I think it’s probably not a bad idea to use the Irish Spring … let’s face it, a lot of teachers will have a problem with it. I heard a story recently about an art teacher who got in trouble for bringing kids to a museum, because the parents realized that there were nudes there. Who knows what those parents might do with the “Bruce Willis line.”

    Having said that, I’m reading the book out loud to my kids, and I’ve been debating the merits of cleaning up some of it as I do so … I’ve already used some “dang” substitutions. But if either of the boys picks it up and reads the real ARC, I’m not afraid of that, either. It’s not like you were gratuitous.

    Ah, well … By the way, once I get my review done (I’m trying to tone it down — I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!), I’m hoping that my father, an 8th grade history teacher, will do another review.

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