So it is D-day on the A-Z Challenge and I want to talk about profanity in YA. This is a topic that I've seen go round and round over the years, each writer I know eventually settling into their own comfort level when it comes to the use of four letter words in their manuscripts. My take on it:
While edgy YA's has profanity; profanity alone does not make a book edgy.
Let's be honest, spend ten minutes in the cafeteria of your local high school and you will realize that kids swear. All. The. Time. Now I have teenagers; do they swear in front of me? Hell, no. But if I stand at the top of the basement stairs and listen to them playing x-box live, I'll hear all the colorful ways to use their favorite f-word and then some.
So how does swearing while gaming relate back to to profanity in YA lit? Simple...use it when it is situationally appropriate. My teenagers don't swear in front of me, in front of their teachers, at Church, or any number of other public venues. But they do swear when they are around their friends. When they angry or frustrated or overwhelmed. When their social filter is down and their emotions are so high that they forget to think before they speak.
So although my YA works aren't loaded down with the f-word, you will find it in there, because at the end of the day, you average teen swears.