Yesterday I got my once-a-year email from the sisterhood of Miss Grimshank, complaining about the bad language in my books. (It's ALWAYS a woman.) She informs me that using such words makes me a bad writer, that such foul words are not necessary, that I should write books that don't use such words, and that she will not ever read any more of my books.
Oh, the temptation! I sooo want to write back, "Well, shit! I'm gonna miss the hell out of you!" But I sit on my hands and don't reply at all, because I can't do it without at least some tinge of pissyness, and I don't need to make things worse for whomever she encounters next in the grocery store. At some point, it dawns on me that I'm itching to be just as bossy as she is. She wants to dictate to me what words I may use and how I may write my own books? Well, I want to dictate what may or may not offend her and what she may or may not say to me. Miss Grimshank, meet Miss Pissypants.
It gets pretty amusing in my own head sometimes. The cast of characters, you wouldn't believe!
So the Miss Grimshanks won't read books with cussing in them. Other readers are offended by sex. Some refuse to read prologues. Others don't like epilogues. Some detest novels written in the present tense. Others hate it when a book slips back and forth between different time periods, or has too many points of view, or. . .
In my 17 novels, I have managed to offend all of those readers at least some of the time. I've used all that stuff--cussing, sex, prologues, epilogues, prologues with sex, epilogues with cussing, present tense, different time periods, multiple points of view. . .
I've stopped worrying about it, mostly. That's all you can do, right?
I figure, the next time Miss Grimshanks writes one of my books, she can use darn and drat and shoot, if she wants to. But since I'm still the author of them, I'll continue to write them however I damn well please, dammit.
So, how the hell are you this morning? :)