Tuesday, March 11, 2014

To snot or not to snot? (help me out here!)

This is a little more of a personal question than I usually share here, but I figure, what’s a community for, if not learning and growing together.

So here’s the thing:  I wrote a book.

Yay, me!  Right?

Thing #2:  It’s a rhyming book.

Thing #3:  The rhymes are good.  Yeah, I’m sure.  I’d be mighty proud of them, except for…

Thing #4:  The book is about… snot.

I made it up one day while fantasizing with my 6-year-old, who has allergies and also gets colds a LOT of the time.  He sniffles a LOT.  And I thought out loud – what if you could take a pill and just get rid of all that snot at once?

So I sat down and in a particularly boring Hebrew class, I dreamed up and wrote out the entire story – in verse.

Like I said, it’s good.  But also like I said, it’s about snot.

The trouble with snot, farts, etc

B005JSV9L2I know there’s a trend towards “shocking” and gross themes and breaking barriers of propriety in today’s kids’ fiction (breaking barriers, breaking wind; is there really a difference?). 

Hooray.  Walter the Farting Dog led the way along with such 0440405653favourite authors as Robert Munsch, in his Good Families Don’t.

But I suppose I generally think of myself as a more delicate sort, especially because the bulk of what I’ve written has been aimed at a religious audience.who would undoubtedly Not be Amused at a book about snot.

I’m not ashamed to admit that with limited access to television and popular culture, all 4 of my kids have been raised with perhaps a more formal approach to language, in particular to rude language.  I try not to even let them say “hate,” let alone some of the nastier things kids say around the house these days. 

My approach to bodily functions has always been that they’re 100% fine to discuss in a “real” way, like if there’s something wrong with you.  Bodies are nothing to be ashamed of.  But if you just want to say the words for fun, or for the shock value – you’ve got to go do it in the bathroom.  The word “snot” is kind of borderline.  It doesn’t really shock me, but I generally discourage it, if only for consistency’s sake.

I guess that now makes me a great big hypocrite.

My inner con(snot?)flict

It’s really weird for me to be all a-dither.  I usually have strong opinions and stick with them, no matter what.

In this case, those instincts are totally failing to guide me.

image6sample Part of me says if I’m hesitating, it’s for a good reason.  It’s my conscience speaking, I should listen, read the story to my kid, let him enjoy it, and be done with it.

The other part says, if I love the story, love the rhymes, even love the crude pictures I had made to go with the story, then why not take it to the next level and try to turn it into a book?

On another hand, I could try to publish it with a pseudonym… but there are all kinds of drawbacks to that, as well.

What do you think?

Seriously, nobody has all the answers all the time.  I certainly don’t. 

My humble re(snot)quest

I know the best blogs are the ones written by “authority figures,” or at least, the authority figures who write blogs about blogging have told me so.  :-)

But hey, I’m not your mom and I’m not some literary goddess, I’m just me – a writer who wants to be humble but is also (justifiably!) proud of her own work.

So what would you do???  Seriously.  Guidance requested.

I understand this is a limited situation, so let’s open it up to be a little more general:

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure if a book you wanted to write, or wanted to publish, was appropriate?
  • Did you worry about writing something that might “shock” what you previously thought of as your audience, or market?
  • Or, if not outright inappropriate, didn’t really FIT with your genre, within the niche where you’re generally niched? (sure, it’s a verb!)

Can you help me out here?  I know it’s my problem… but let’s work through it together.  :-)

Send me an email, leave a comment or just telepathically send your answer as a dream in the middle of the night.  I’m waiting with what some of the worst writers have referred to as “baited” breath.  Ew.


  1. You should go for it. You can put a funny label on the front that says, "Warning! This is snot for the weak of heart." Or, "Warning, this is snot your average story!" It could be a fun book for kids to read in hospitals or while they are sick at home.

    1. Actually, I *love* the idea of the warning label! I'm still sitting on this story three months later because I'm so on the fence... but with a warning on the cover, maybe I should go for it. Are you the same anonymous who got Goldilocks out of her dilemma the other day in this post? If so, thanks again!

    2. You know, asking me that defeats the purpose of posting anonymously...just kidding, I can't post any other way. ^_^ But, yes, it is I and I enjoyed your post on morals and that hooligan, Goldilocks. (You know if I was the Big Bad Wolf I would enlist Goldilocks' help in getting into the Three Little Pigs' houses. With her knack for breaking and entering, he wouldn't have to huff and puff so much.)

      But I think adding a warning label would add special appeal above and beyond the "ick" factor that kids love so dearly. Kids are surrounded by warning labels that tell them the world around them is not for them, so to have a warning that says your book is, essentially, just for them is a strong lure.

  2. Love the warning idea by anonymous - what a clever solution!

  3. What a clever solution by anonymous - I can think of nothing better!


As always, I love to hear from you.