Strange what ethical dilemmas arise in the world of writing fiction. Such as: To curse, or not to curse.
Okay, some of my characters throw out a few four-letter words of the mild variety. Never the “GD” word and, until recently, never the “F” word. Then, along comes Mirren, a big guy who, well, doesn’t bother with too many social niceties. He just says what he says. He likes to curse.
As writers, we all cope with what I call Uncle Bill Syndrome (UBS). Uncle B is a retired minister and I figure he’ll have me halfway to the unpromised land if he ever figures out I’m writing paranormal anyway, so I can’t worry about a few four-letter words slipping in there. Gotta be true to my characters, yes? We all have UBS to some extent–some person, usually in our family, that we don’t want to read our sex scenes or language or whatever.
But what about personal faith and belief systems? When as writers do we self-censor to remain true to our personal beliefs, and when do we let our characters have their way? I’d imagine even writers of inspirational fiction come up against this at some point–in order for their characters to grow spiritually, they must start from a bad place.
So yes, I’ve done some self-censoring of language–not of any character’s behavior thus far (hmmm…maybe my characters aren’t being bad enough). Do you self-censor language or actions? As a reader in this age of badass heroines, are there things like language or too much violence that turn you off?