My son has recently told me that his school will not allow any books that contain swearing. You what?!
It got me to thinking about the whole YA genre. I took a look at some of the commercially popular 'teen' books and I have to say that, now I'm looking for it, the characters are wooden and unrealistic. They're too clean cut, too responsible, too polite, too...nice and they don't swear. No wonder I've always felt there was something missing, something that doesn't ring true.
So where do you draw the line? I'm not suggesting that all teen characters in books should swear like troopers, behave like assholes and are irresponsible and nasty, but a sprinkling of those qualities wouldn't hurt, surely
I sat down and started writing. I have a story, I have characters and I have lots of angst - I ALWAYS have lots of angst. I'm currently sixteen chapters in and I've had to constantly edit out swear words and tone down attitude.I'm ending up with a couple of teenagers who don't speak like teenagers and handle trouble way too easily. Actually, I've read a couple of YA lately and this has been a complaint in all of them.
What to do? What to do?
Do I stick with my uber polite kids, or do I try for realism?
What do you think?