Words

Words

Words | Guy L. PaceThe words we use color our lives and our relationships. Some bring people closer together and others tear people apart.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t always used the best words or language. I was a sailor and I’ll use that as my excuse. But, there is no excuse for what some of those words and some of that language led to. All I can do now is ask forgiveness.

As a father, and now a grandfather, I see the children and grandchildren trying to navigate this world. In my writing, I try to give lessons and examples they can use. If I used words like I did when in the service or later, I find I’d be mortally embarrassed to have my granddaughters read my work.

The problem with them–and we all know what words we’re talking about here–is they often represent a violence. Some just physical violence, some sexual violence. Some are just plain degrading and disrespectful. The last thing I wanted my granddaughters to see was their grandfather using those words in any form.

Today is my 30th wedding anniversary. My wife had a huge influence on me. It took a lot of years of work for me to remove those words from my daily speech and writing. Now I wince when I hear or read any of those words. An author I’ve read for a while suddenly includes more of those words in his work. It’s a shock when I run across them in my reading, but they are becoming more frequent.

Anglo-Saxon

Granted, those are good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon words, single- or two-syllable. Direct and emphatic. Is there a place for them in today’s literature and film? They are, as I mentioned above, violent. They describe emotional, physical, or sexual violence; carry a negative connotation; are derogatory and insulting.

You won’t find them in the stuff I do. They don’t fit the story, the message, or the tone. I try to set a positive tone, create solid relationships, and respectful communication.

I think the strongest expletive I’ve used in my writing to date is, “Oh, crap.” The hero has to have something to say when he or she exhausted all options, finds him or her self cornered, and there seems no way out.

Find good words.

Keep writing.

 

Reviews revisted

Reviews revisited

Sudden Mission is a novel for middle-grade/young adult readers. This is a problem when trying to get promotional blog tours and reviews. It isn’t a cute story with a lot of illustrations and deals with some serious topics for young people.

It’s also a Christian-themed novel. This can stick in the craw of some reviewers and writer/reader bloggers. It also limits the bookstore shelves Sudden Mission might get on, or library collections that may include it.

The other challenge for Sudden Mission is getting reviews. Almost all the reviews so far are not from the book’s primary demographic (middle-grade to young adult). While it’s nice to get kudos from my peers (adults), it would be fantastic to get feedback from young people.

I do have some feedback on the back channel from young people who read Sudden Mission and loved it. But it isn’t public feedback. It turns out that getting a twelve- or fourteen-year-old to post a review on Amazon or YouTube, is like getting him or her to volunteer for a dental appointment.

Granted, a reader in the primary demographic probably doesn’t have an Amazon, Nook, or iBook account or a YouTube channel. However a parent can take this opportunity to help. If your young person read Sudden Mission, ask them how they liked it. Have them give you a couple of favorite things they liked about the book, or something they didn’t like. Write up a two or three sentence statement and post it for them, with their cooperation. Don’t force it. Make it an educational opportunity.

If it’s more convenient, post your young person’s review in the comments section here.

While back channel feedback is welcome, I usually get it second or third hand and get few details about what he or she liked or disliked. And I don’t get an opportunity to discuss the thoughts or criticisms. I’m pretty thick-skinned, so I can take criticism. One adult reviewer didn’t like the ending. I can see that and I respect that person’s opinion. That was also an adult’s view of things.

I would love a twelve- or fourteen-year-old’s thoughts on Sudden Mission. If you, your child, or grandchild read the book, please take a few minutes to post a rating or review. It’s appreciated more than you know.

Keep writing.