Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monkey Steals Peaches!

If you didn't already know, my husband are both martial arts enthusiasts. I'm not very high ranked, like my Hubby, but that doesn't mean I appreciate the sport any less. I found the above image of the martial arts move, "Monkey Steals Peaches", after leafing through a bunch of Hubby's books.

Since that day, when I lose my temper I'll often shout, "Monkey Steals Peaches!" It's become my own personal cuss word. And with a toddler in the house that repeats EVERYTHING, the need for incognito cuss words is very important.

Which got me thinking, how do you address cursing in books for young adults? Personally, I'm not a fan of cursing, but it's real. A group of teens walked into Panera Bread the other day while I was sitting there editing, and every other word out of their mouth was the "F" bomb.

So, while I may not be a fan of cursing, I'll use it in instances of extreme drama/tension/pain. In KATANA, my character is chased out of a biker bar by some women who are pretty peeved that Rileigh knocked one of their friends out cold. Needless to say, if they were shouting things like, "You're not very nice!" the scene would have fallen flat.

So how do you deal with curse words when writing for the YA audience? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and if you're wondering what's so bad about Monkey Steals Peaches that makes it curse word worthy - here's the application *hee*:


  1. Nice

    You know I use cuss words. And I do actually go through and tame it down because certain characters use f-bombs the way I do--liberally. But it's not always a good idea to say it. I shoot for realism as well and sometimes the scene needs something stronger than "damn" or "hell." I know it could my book in trouble, but so could a lot of other stuff I write about. If you're doing it purely for shock value, I'll roll my eyes. If it's how the character honestly speaks, I have qualms about it.

  2. *blinks at photo*

    Dude seriously got his peaches stolen! Whoa!

    Great post Cole.

  3. ROTFL!

    I write dystopian, so I make up my own curse words, that's how I get out of it. I'm thinking of crossing over to YA contemp, and it makes me very nervous.

  4. I don't write YA, so my thoughts are pretty moot. Although, I'm all for keeping it real.

    But Monkey Steals Peaches? I'm using that phrase tonight when I get home just to see what kind of reaction I get out of my family.


  5. LOL! That's hilarious! That may just be my new screen saver. Yeah, not a fan of cussing, but I remember what it was like to be a teen, and I did my fair share. I think if the character would say it, then let them say it. ;) Great post!

  6. In real life, I probably cuss (at work anyway) more than I should at times. I'm former Army, what can I say. Old habits die hard. I didn't cuss much as a teenager though, mostly because I didn't talk much. You can't be invisible to everyone around you if you are spouting cuss words left and right.

    I had a post about this a while back, and my initial thoughts after talking about it is that cussing needs to be there if it's appropriate.

    Oh, and why would a monkey want to steal some guy's peaches? I know they pick their own butt and fling doo doo everywhere, but do they steal peaches too? Just saying...

  7. Great photos! :)

    I've used curse words in the past, but only if it was something the character would say. Usually, I try to avoid them. Great post!

  8. I try to avoid them when possible, but like you said, sometimes they really are the best word to use. I have a line in my last book that uses the S word...but if I had used anything else it would have sounded beyond goofy. I try to use another MC says crap a lot :) And I do notice teens using "fake" swear words, like freak, instead of the real thing, so if that works, I use it.

    But, bottom line, unfortunately, it's just the way people talk, esp teens, talk now. But if you give your MC that "non-potty mouth" characteristic, you can generally avoid swearing, for the most part, I think :D Like the MC in the House of Night series. She doesn't swear - it's a funny personality quirk. Instead she says things like "poopy" and gets teased for it :) I think there are ways around it, and if you do it right, it can work. But it shows if you are trying too hard not to swear.

  9. My husband likes to pick on me and unfortunately is quite wily at deflecting my punches. I invented what I like to call the Flying Monkey Punch. I run and swing so he doesn't know what's hitting him. He typically just laughs, but I would like to think it is out of nervousness because of my sheer strength and ferocity.

    Love the Monkey Steals Peaches.

  10. Michelle - How interesting! I'll definitely have to check out that book series.

    Little Miss J - Flying Monkey Punch? Hilarious! Sounds like something I'd do to my husband. Hee!