Decorum

Booking Through Thursday

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

I approach this issue in books the way I approach it in movies.  If it’s appropriate for the story and the characters and not gratuitous, then it’s okay.  After all, you can’t have a dirty New York City cop saying, “darn it all to heck,” and expect people to take the character seriously.  And there are certain situations where that one word is the only one which can adequately convey the feelings of a character.

On the other hand, I think in most situations less is more.  A recent series of Batman comics, designed to be a “grittier” reimagining of Batman has him saying at one point, “I’m the [expletive] Batman.”  (You can read about it here.)  People read it and laughed.  They weren’t supposed to.  I’ve also been turned off to a book by an “overdescribed” love scene, even if the scene itself was appropriate to the characters and the situation.  Adding in every detail just makes the writing awkward, which is pretty much the opposite of the effect you want.  (By contrast, read Madame Bovary.)

5 thoughts on “Decorum

  1. Jaimie October 4, 2007 / 11:06 am

    Good answer. Less is certainly more in my book as well.

  2. --Deb October 4, 2007 / 2:57 pm

    Yes, exactly.

  3. Mei October 4, 2007 / 4:00 pm

    Beautifully expressed (and I am laughing at the image of a Mayberry-ish NYC cop!).

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