So I'm faced with a dilemma here and I'm honestly not sure how I want to proceed at this point. As those of you who read my fics know, I tend to use curse words somewhat liberally in my fics. For me, it seems a natural extension for certain characters, specifically John and Rodney. The editor of one of the zines has asked me to remove pretty much anything that wouldn't make it past the show censors, in essence saying the stronger language violates their P13 rating limitations. Now let me just say, I firmly believe, as editors, they have every right to restrict what they print. The zine is ultimately their baby and they control the vision of what they want to present. The thing is, I have never rated a fic above PG13/T for language alone and I would never think twice about reading a fic with F bombs scattered throughout that was rated T. For me the R/M rating is for fics with explicit sex and/or graphic violence and disturbing themes such as rape or extreme torture. I think it is also fandom dependent. If I was writing in Harry Potter or Teen Titans, I would probably be much more conservative since much younger readers are going to be the primary audience as opposed to something like SGA which is primarily college age and above.
But for the zine fic, I am of two minds....
One part of me just want to say, screw it, take out the language and be done with it. When I get right down to it, its a zine fic. And while I am very proud of several of my zine fics, honestly, I get very little feedback one way or another on them. They just sort of disappear into black holes because people don't take the time to drop you an email saying if they like it or not, and even when I post them online, there is very little feedback for some reason. The other thing is that I would really be the only one who knew I had changed the fic to meet the requirements and no one else would know the difference or really care, so why not just do it and get over it.
But the other part of me wants to say it's the principle dammit! I don't use language for the shock value, I use it because it feels real to me and natural for the characters and I think it adds a layer to them we don't get to see on the show. And isn't that why we write fanfic in the first place? It feels like I'm sacrificing my image of the characters to meet someone else's image regardless of who knows I made the changes, because *I* know I made the changes. Also, if I'm asked to trib to a zine or some other ficathon, I'm assuming you know what I write and how I write and that I'm compatible with your vision of the zine. If there is some aspect you don't care for, you need to state that up front so I can decide then and there if I feel we're compatible before I write 18,000 words. I'm always a little boggled when someone is surprised by my use of cursing when it is in almost *ever* fic I've written, which is over 100 fics now.
So, I'm curious to hear what people think about cursing in fics general and what the rating system for fics implies regarding language. Even the MPAA has allowed fuck to be used on occasion in a PG movie, not to mention PG13. If I use fuck 3 or 4 times in a fic does that put it in the same league as people writing explicit sex scenes or graphic rape? Have I been rating my fics wrong all this time? Because I'm honestly starting to wonder since this has happened a couple of times with zine fics now.