The Bishop's Doody

Once upon this week there was a list brought to my attention, writing guidelines for one publishing imprint.  If you write books for them, you must avoid words or phrases like these:
Arousal, Bastard, Bet/betting, Bishop, Bra, Breast (except for breast cancer if necessary),
Buttocks or butt (alternatively, you can say derriere or backside), Crap, Damn (try "blast" instead),
Darn, Dern/durn, Devil (except in the religious sense, but the circumstances would be rare),
Dang or Dagnabbit, Doody, Father (when used to describe a religious official), Fiend,
For heaven's sake (can use "for goodness' sake" instead), For the love of Mike...

And avoid situations like these:
Kissing below the neck
Visible signs or discussions of arousal or sexual attraction or being out of control
Double entendre
Nudity - people changing clothes "on screen" or any character clad only in a towel
Hero and heroine sleeping in the same house without a third party, even if they're not sleeping together or in the same room
Also, Christian characters should not smoke, drink, gamble, play cards or dance (except in historical novels they may dance but please limit to square dances and balls, no “sexy” dancing like waltzing cheek to cheek), and terms associated with these activities should only be used in connection with bad guys or disapproving of them or such.
Bodily functions, like going to the bathroom, should be mentioned as little as possible and some euphemism may be necessary but we don't want to sound quaint or absurd.

Now you might say "For heaven's sake, John, you fiend, that's a funny list, but people of faith are beyond that these days, they really are."  And I would momentarily stop dancing and reply "but dagnabbit, publishing houses don't do things that aren't profitable, they don't, so this list indicates a significant number of people are buying books that do not contain words and phrases and situations like these.  In other words, a significant number of people are buying and reading doody-free books."

The last time I checked, this was still a relatively free country, so that pub house can publish escapist romance, no problem by me. But I read a list like that in light of the carnage at Ft. Hood and I'm rankled because those guidelines have the word christian attached to them...and a faith of avoidance continues its drumbeat.  When I first heard about the shooting, my response was not blast or dang; it was Damn, not again.  The christian characters in those novels could not say that, even if they wanted to.

There are days when I believe we are what we read.  For the love of Christ, my friends, read well...         


  1. Been tough for decent print around here, addition to the Ft. Hood atrocities, Seattle mourned one of her men in blue b/c he was slaughtered on Halloween night. 39 years old. Wife and 2 kids. As of yesterday, I think they had a person of interest (great euphemism, whilst we're at it), but no arrest. Damn. Not again.

    Okay, I'd like to thank you and myself for this upper. Going to go find some dirt to eat. Christian dirt, of course.

  2. I'm with you. I like real people ... ones who aren't anesthetizing themselves or living a fabricated life.

    Cause when we own our stuff, change can happen.

  3. Thank you, John, for voicing this. I went from laughter to tears in reading this.

  4. I was also laughing, and quickly sobered by the gravity of your words.

    I don't read stupid books often, but I read a book recently that had been recommended to me. I get so irritated when a writer is full of crap. It's a waste of time!

    I can't write well but I'm an avid reader and I'm thankful for those who can, and do. Thank you John, for raising the bar.

  5. John's words......
    Read 'em and reap.