I’ve been asked a few times about my commitment to writing clean fiction. As a dad, an educator, and a Christian, my values and standards are set high for what I allow my own children to ingest. Why? Because media influences us. What we see, hear, and read shapes our view of the world. It conjures questions that may be difficult to answer or understand by younger children. My commitment to writing clean fiction is to protect my children from being unduly influenced and empower parents in guiding their children into adulthood.
The Veil Saga is written to be read by middle-school-aged children and up. It contains references to suicide, violence, torture, and mild flirting. Part of my author platform is to let parents know about sensitive issues before they read my books, and also provide them with discussion points and questions to help families tackle these topics together.
You won’t find profanity, gratuitous violence, or sexual references and innuendo in the Veil Saga. Why? Several reasons. Foremost, the research tells us that most readers of fantasy fiction are not reading because of the sex or violence. They want a compelling character-driven story, and an excellent writer can serve that up without detailing sex scenes or using profanity. “Sex sells” is a misnomer. Countless research studies have been done on this topic.
Profanity on the other hand is more of a personal choice. I admire authors like Brandon Sanderson, who write clean fiction, and yet do not gloss over humanity’s penchant for darkness. Phrases like “he cursed” or “she profaned” are more than adequate ways of telling the reader that the characters are using inappropriate words. Readers and writers understand the power of words. Phrases and sentences can carry a weight and meaning that invokes specific feelings and responses. Curse words and vulgar phrases have a power that we have given them over the centuries. And although they may be commonplace in our society and culture, I want my children to understand that we must choose our words carefully. The Bible tells us that words have the power of life and death. We are taught that we should not let any unwholesome words come from our mouth and that our words should be used to lift one another up and not tear each other down. Therefore, I must also model this practice in my actions and my writing.
This is why I have chosen to write clean fiction.