Monday, April 27, 2009

Appropriate Speech

When the Reconstructed Man gave me the Chambers Dictionary for Christmas, it came with a free six-month subscription to Chambers Reference Online (dictionary and thesaurus). Now, while I am more than partial to a spot of page flicking, my copy of Chambers weighs 2.5kg and I don't always have it with me, so I just love this resource.

The lovely people at Chambers, obviously being modern folk, also have their own blog, Clishmaclaver, and recently, they published this post.

In it, Ian Brookes discusses the place of profanities in the dictionary and in everyday language, and the very narrow line between causing offence or not. He also touches on swearing by fictional characters, and how in some cases "...the swearing is integral to the situation and appropriate to the characters..."

Now, this is related to a problem I'd been having with my baddie. Whenever I read through his dialogue I felt it just wasn't convincing; he sounded too educated, too middle class. Now, many people don't like swearing, and I know so much of the advice on the subject warns writers away from it, but once I started introducing a few obscenities into his speech, he came across as much more plausible. I mean, a man of his calibre just wouldn't say, "Well, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on that, old chap." He'd say, "Fuck you."

Do your characters swear? Does it bother you?

ADDENDUM: And there was me thinking, 'I'm sure I'll get away with using a screen-shot of the Chambers site for my post illustration; no one from there is ever gonna visit my blog." Only took them a few hours... thanks for the tweet guys! You can follow their twittering @ChambersOnline!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Gentle Return

There hasn't been much to blog about really. I've been poorly since January, and you didn't want to know all about that, did you? That's not to say that I haven't been doing anything, I just haven't had the energy to bore you all with it afterwards. Now I'm finally starting to get some strength back, I'll tell you what I've been up to writing-wise:

I've written quite a lot: been keeping up with my Story a Fortnight, and working on the novel(s) too.
I've subbed quite a lot: this is good. I subbed virtually nothing last year (though I wrote loads).
I've done a Della course: can't recommend them highly enough.
I've been to a couple of book launches: any excuse to buy books and drink wine, eh?
I've made use of my camera: as part of some Tom-Foolery-inspired photographic walks.
I've chilled with blogmates: a girly weekend with Helen (in which Spiral Jen played a rather drunken part), and a day with DJ, Troy and Mrs Troy, and various associated children.

I have also, by virtue of some domestic rearrangements, discovered a Room of My Own without my having to convert the loft. More of this later.

My list of Things to Do this year include: London Book Fair, Flash Fiction evenings, Novel Racers' Meet, SaF Meet, another Della Course, and Isle of Wight trip with DJ +N3S, Calistro's book launch (hint hint, Calistro), and no doubt much more.

Do you have any writing/blogging-related events planned for this year?