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Oh... Fudge!

Photo © 2008 HD41117 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Click here for the original image.

Sorry, this post is not about sweet, chocolatey squares of yummy goodness. (Or is that “good yumminess”? As a writer, I think about such things.)

When I originally wrote From the Ashes of Courage, at one point in the story, Gail recounts a fight she had with George. It ended with her throwing a book at him and shouting, “Get the fudge out of here!” (except that she didn’t actually use the word fudge).

And I had no problem with this. When I retell it now, it sounds kind of funny, kind of ridiculous. But that particular scene is dripping with intense emotion (the bad kind). And so it made sense that when she lost her temper, she would have said that, even though Gail usually doesn’t have a gutter-mouth.

And in the “limited advance edition” pre-release of the book, it actually has the actual word that she said, right there on page 38.

And I had no problem with this, because after all, it moved the story along and it fit with the story.

Fortunately, I gave an advance-edition copy to my Dad to read. He pointed out that this is the single, solitary naughty word anywhere in the whole book, and it would be a shame to throw the entire book into rated-R territory, just for a single word in a single scene. And I realized that this particular scene is one of Gail’s reminiscences, and she would never say the actual word when recounting the story. She would find some more polite way of getting the word across.

And so she did:

I don’t remember how exactly it happened, but I ended up shouting at him, “Get the fudge out of here!” (except that I didn’t actually use the word fudge) and I threw a book at him.

So thank Dad for the fudge. Otherwise, I may never have even thought of putting it in there.


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I had the same problem with

I had the same problem with one of my protagonists in "Enchantment." I danced around Josh's profanity as much as possible, but there is one point in the story where anything less than the real thing would have corrupted the scene. I had to choose between GD and the eff word.

Both words carry enough emotional charge to demonstrate his distress, but one is more offensive to the general public than the other.

It was a tough choice. I, personally, would rather someone drop the eff bomb than take God's name in vain, but the rest of the world doesn't see it that way. I rationalized it by not capitalizing the word "god." So in my own mind, the reference is to an unnamed, fictional diety and not to the God I believe in.

I know that's stretching it, but there's no denying the power of profanity when it's used sparingly and at the right moment. Especially if it's the only time it's used in the whole book.

I agree completely,

I agree completely, Charlotte. Profanity is a funny thing: exactly like other language, it's just sounds strung together in a certain order; yet these sounds have such heavy emotional baggage attached to them. It can be very effective.

BTW, I got a copy of Enchantment, and I'm looking forward to reading it. Loved the first scene (which is all I got a chance to read while browsing it). And I'm hoping to start it next, this weekend.


Thanks Tim, I can't wait to

Thanks Tim, I can't wait to hear what you think about "Enchantment" I hope you enjoy it. I'm looking forward to reading your "Ardor Point" novels as well. I'm a bit backlogged at the moment, but I'll leave a review at Amazon, B&N, and GoodReads when I'm done.

Thanks for sharing your experiences of the writing process through this informative and entertaining blog.

BTW, is that Hebrew above your signature?


Hi, Charlotte. I'm playing

Hi, Charlotte. I'm playing with the idea of including שלום at the end of all my posts here. It's the Hebrew word "Shalom," which is a common Hebrew greeting. It also (you may know) means "peace." And the Ardor Point stories are inevitably about characters finding peace. That's a whole blog post to explain that, but an idea I love to talk about.


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