Monday 6 May 2013

How clean should #loveinpenang be?

So I've done a first read through for the Love in Penang submissions and generally separated the stories into three categories: yes, maybe and no. Those under "no" were fairly easy. Those under "yes" and "maybe" are in for another read, especially since the initial readings were done over the submission period of more than a month so things may have changed from the initial yesses and maybes up until the final few. To cut things down even further, even under the "yes" column I have my own category for "oh gosh super yes I love this story" and "yeah, that's nice", so I don't think I will have a problem with those. The problem that's weighing on my mind is this one story that I've put into the "maybe" category for now.

Thing is, I like the story. Okay, to be honest, it almost falls into the "oh gosh super yes I love this story" category. Except for one thing. The language. You know that age-old question about whether you should swear in your story? Or whether you should throw a few f-bombs here and there? (Okay, I don't know if it's really age-old, it's just... something I follow occasionally). Well. This story has those. And you know what, they really fit. Like, if you take them out or change the words, you mellow the story, water it down. So it's a really well-written story.

But I'm a prude. And I don't know how clean I want to go with this. Because I like books that I can recommend to people in my church. I like books that I can recommend to teens. And I can't do that with a clean conscience if there are aspects of language (or morals) that I can't justify to be there for a reason. And so this unlikely dilemma is now mine.

Yes or no? What say you?


  1. If you want the book to win the hearts of all layers of society, then let the chosen stories reflect as such.

    If not, then let the book be free to attract the crowd it pleases instead of based on who it needs to be recommended to - I think.

  2. You've justified it yourself by saying it fits, else it tones the story down. As a writer/reader, that weighs for itself.
    On the other hand, as editor, its your standards, prude or not.

    IMO, maybe you could add a warning header to the story?
    Like it or not exposure to foul languages is everywhere.