There are 215 “Fucks” in DEAR CASSIE, A LOT, but it makes sense because it is Cassie’s favorite word. Cassie has trouble expressing herself. She uses swear words and anger because she does not know what else to do. She’s also in a terrible situation, a wilderness rehab program trying to deal with something that has happened to her that she can’t bring herself to deal with.
215 fucks, that is down from almost 400 or 500 in the original draft- I can’t remember- LOL. I would say my editor has a pretty strong stomach for letting me keep as many as she did.
I am in the third pass edits now. The pass before it goes to publisher extraordinaire Liz Pelletier for her read-through and then on to copy edits. There is just one fuck in this pass that is making my editor reconsider.
It is the one that sits at the top of the first page.
Folks who read PRETTY AMY would not be surprised that the first real word in Cassie’s book is: fucking. It is in every chapter heading. My editor loves it and I love it, but on page one, the page people read when they are glancing at your book and deciding to buy it or read it, it has the potential to turn people off.
Now, these people probably would be turned off eventually anyway, but there is something to be said for not having it happen before they even read the first line of the book.
I get this. This being my second novel, I get this in a way I didn’t with my first. This book is the book where people will either say, she did it again. Or, she was a fluke.
That is enough to make me want to fill page one with COMPLIMENTS for these readers. You are beautiful, you smell good, you are smart, funny and a really good kisser. Like me please. Buy me and rate me with 5-stars.
But since I can’t do that, I am considering removing the fuck from page one.
And, I am struggling.
On one hand it is Cassie and this is her book. On the other I want people–as many as possible–to buy DEAR CASSIE and read it. So friends, I am asking for some help here. What are your thoughts? Is 215 one fuck too many? Or, is staying true to character and vision more important?
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.