Oh, @#%^*

My name is Christina, and I have a problem. I am a compulsive editor.

I constantly edit everything I write. (I’m not a very efficient writer.) I silently edit everything I read. (I’m not a very efficient reader. I also have the bad habit of not finishing books, because there are days when I cannot stand one more “defiantly” used instead of “definitely”–or another misuse of the word “disinterested.” SERIOUSLY, it means unselfish/not having selfish or personal interests, NOT “uninterested”! AUGH! AUGH! AUGH!)

Er, sorry. Maybe I’m not so silent after all.

Anyways. When presented with an editing problem I can’t solve, I go crazy. The problem is that there are many, many editing problems that can’t be solved, exactly, because there are as many answers out there as there are editors.

One thing that’s particularly on my mind? Swearing.

Not whether bloggers should use it. Not whether novelists should employ it. Not even whether towns should ban it and fine the use of it.

Actually, the latter is part of the problem–or at least the article is. See how the author used the same grawlix (bunch of symbols used in place of a four-letter word) for each word he omitted, even though it’s clearly standing in for different words? That bugged me. In fact, it bugged me so much that instead of writing a post on the Constitutional implications of the town’s law and the infringement of free speech and to what extent the government can and should restrict what we say or do, I’m writing about trying to find the right combination of &s and *s and #s to replace my swear of choice.

So my question is this: What is the proper way to use grawlixes in place of swearing? Do you just do random combinations of symbols? Are only certain symbols acceptable, as this writer suggests (and I kind of agree with the reasoning)? Do you need to make them the same length as the word you’re replacing? Do you need to be consistent each time you substitute symbols for a particular word?

Or do consistency and making rules take the spontaneity out of dropping a symbol-bomb, so to speak? After all, it feels pretty good to press “shift” and pound the keyboard with your knuckles.

I’m stumped as @%#*. Help a fellow writer out, will you?


3 responses to “Oh, @#%^*

  1. I always make them the same $&@?!#% length..but that is just me…lol! Great post!

  2. I think they should be the same length as the word replaced. If you are writing a lengthy story, they should probably be the same ones used throughout, but I don’t think the first combo matters. It can be fairly random. All that said, I never pay attention to what characters are used because I just read it for the swear it is replacing.

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