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April 03, 2007



So true. Sometimes the right words really are "goat bastard." I thought "Higher Power of Lucky" was so charming, I really wish people would leave her alone. You're right, her only crime is winning the Newbery. How dare she! ;) ps-What were you doing reading Tacitus' history of Germania?


You are so write. You have to be true to stories and to characters and make them real. You can't write trying not to offend anyone.


I found "Lucky" delightful! I loved the simple voice of that little girl. She reminds me of Ruby Lavender and the little girl in "Winn Dixie". I would have no problems recommending this book to one of my own children or friends of theirs. It is a silly controversy!


I have a hard time imagining your book being banned. so many more people are reading it now! I don't know anyone who found it offensive. all the kids at my church have asked to borrow it, so I' m the Shannon Hale library at church now.


I love the story in the Goose Girl, too! It gives me goosebumps. I didn't think about the nudity part very much. And I definitely don't remember reading "goat bastard" in Enna Burning. I think those words made so much sense in the books that you don't notice them; that was the best way to convey the feeling of the scene. I haven't read The Higher Power of Lucky, but it sounds like the way that Lucky reacted to that word shows what her character was like. I hope that makes sense :)


Thank You! It seems a little boring from time to time because everyone generally agrees in this blog... but I do agree AGAIN with you Shannon. I'm glad you feel this way, because you're books are awesome.. the way that they are! Goose Girl, your ?first? novel is one of my favorite books.... FIRST novel!! So please keep up the good work and never stop believing in your own opinions, and if you do change your opinion ALWAYS make sure it's well considered.


I think the inappropriate is much more... under scrutiny... in a book recieving so much attention.

Thank you Shannon for not writing objectionable things. I am always disappointed, and have a lower opinion of authors that write scandalous little inferences to make readers giggle.


I didn't notice those bad things, and I don't think they are that bad, you watch any movie over pg and you get much worse than that. I don't think they are a problem. I think she is a wonderful writer.

Enna Isilee

You know what this reminds me of? All of those stories about people wanting to be famous or rich or royalty and then dicovering that it's actually really hard. You want your book to be noticed and you want people to read it, but then you have an increased chance of something like this happening.

It's a double bladed sword.


I completely agree with you again, Marie. Your books are GREAT, Shannon. My friends and I were talking yesterday about the story in 'The Goose Girl.' We came to the conclusion that the story was a really good one, full of meaning. And Enna and Finn's responses to it show a lot about their characters and dreams. I think the tale adds a lot to the novel. Besides, 'goat bastard' is just a mild way of describing Sileph. Ha ha.


I think there's a difference between Shannon using the word "bastard" and some crazy author putting a much worse word in every sentence just for shock value. BIG difference!


I agree with 'burning'. I also think, that Enna and Finn's reaction to the story shows alot about their character.


I just so happen to be a huge Enna and Finn fan. They are two of my favorite characters. (I also love Razo.) But trying to imagine 'Goose Girl' without that story changes my opinion of a lot of things. I think it had the perfect foreshadowing 'Enna Burning' in it. And it gave you more chance to see characters reactions and opinions.


Wow, Lovely! We agree on everything. That's exactly my thoughts! I love Razo, Enna, and Finn. I also like Dasha.


That's so cool! I love Finn! If he existed, I would marry him! lol. Just kidding. I love Dssha, too! You have to love the whole [SPOILER DELETED]. Would you rather be eaten to death by fire ants or bake to death under the sun?


I can't imagine trying to write a book and thinking every other second, "Oh, no. Will *this* offend anyone? Or how about *that*?"


haha Shannon! I couldn't help laughing when I read that! :) No, I agree if you kept thinking "Oh I hope no one will be offended by this" then you'd just be limiting yourself unnesesarily. I think that sometimes it's good to be down to earth like that. and I love your writing so much! (just had to add that little bit at the end!)


I haven't posted on this blog before, although I have been reading it for over a year. Let me start by saying I haven't yet read the book in question, so I cannot comment on the use of the word "scrotum." Still, I've enjoyed the current discussion, and I am not sure I completely agree with your last comment. Perhaps a writer cannot control reader reactions, but I believe that writers have a responsibilty to consider their readers as they write. Writing is a communicative act, and the reader is part of it. Consider the Harry Potter books. They start out as middle grade books and end up YA. That's all very well for the original audience all of whom grew as fast as Harry (or faster even). But what about the 9 or 10 year-old who picks up the first book today and is ready for trolls and three-headed dogs, yet not quite ready to handle the snogging and darkness in book six?

I do not believe that a writer needs to worry about offending people when they write, but I cannot believe that the audience does not play some part in the writing process beyond simply reading the final product.


I wasn't shocked by "goat bastard" or the story Enna told. They DO fit right in the story, and any one who says otherwise is probably immature or trying to find a fault in your amazing books.


I think that as long as "bad" or "questionable" words fit well in the story, you just have to either take that content in stride or not read the book that is probably worth reading. That content, accept it or not, is a part of life. Applying it in a book is, in my opinion, making it more real to life. I just hate it when authors put in those words or stories just for shock factor.

P.S. Of the two instances in your books, I only remember the story from Goose Girl, and I never thought of it as "bad". I thought, as many others here, that it was beautiful!


I think that using bad words should fit in line with the story, not be put in deliberately for some other purpose. I don't mind so much when there are a couple bits like that in a book--but it should be meant to fit in, not stand out. It's such an annoyance when I read books riddled with swearing and such; it draws you away from the story.
And certainly, an author should take into consideration just what message their book is sending to an audience, but he/she shouldn't bow to the readers' every whim. Of course, they should keep in mind who the book is targeted to: children, YA, adult. It all depends, I guess.


yeh!!!! someone agrees with me!!!



About what?


I never ever thought of those parts in your books as bad. I think that Harry Potter has worse words in it then yours and "The Higher Power of Lucky" (I'm guessing on THPOL, I haven't read it yet) together. I agree with mdpreston, especially about the HP books. They curse and say much more worse things then 'scrotum'. I don't know, this is all just very unfair. I'm not going to go into a fifty-page rant about it, since all of what I would like to say has been said above. Personally, I think this should all just go away. It's so dumb and childish, people get so excited about the silliest things. I feel bad for the author.


I absolutely adore the book Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (if you have not yet read it and have no aversion to swearing, find it). However, it does have a lot of profanity in it, placed there because the editor thought that is the way the kids in the book would talk. I disagree, and think that it should have been kept out of the book, and that I would have enjoyed it much more without the fowl language. The plot and characters are wonderful.

I was wondering if the rumor I heard about someone going through and cleaning the book up is true; because while it *may* have been appropriate in some situations, it was completely unnecessary in nearly all of them.

However, this controversy is not like Ender's Game. It had one word, one word that was used because it was anatomically correct. I think that the desire to ban it because of that is ridiculous.


my dad read Ender's game to us a year ago. he did a bit of "He BLEEP! OK," and stuff like that, but if it was REALLY really mild he read it. we loved that book, and I re-read it a few times.


burning, someone agreed with me about my viewpoints about opinion, etc. try checking previous posts


Harry Potter definitely has more cursing in it. But perhaps that got lost in the whole controversy that is anti christian. This was brought to my mind, because I doubt that it would have been banned had it not done so well.


Harry Potter does have tons of cursing. You have to know it is a English book and some of the words are not swear words in England.

Helen Jennings

Hi Burning It's Holly. =). WOW!! Shannon Hale I luv ur books. I luv how u express everything u make them feel so real, sometimes I imagine myself in the story watching everything happen. I can't wait to finish River Secrets and then read Princess Academy.


I read Goose Girl, Enna Burning, and River Secrets in one week and I can't get enough of them. So I went back yesterday to Borders and secured myself the last copy of Princess Academy.

Shannon Hale gave me the best experience in whole of my reading life. She can bring out those many expressions I dare not show when reading in trams & trains. But she actually DID that to me last week! :)

I've never written to any writer before and posting here took a lot of courage. But I reckon she deserves to know that, even a 33 yr old mum can go GAGA over her books.

Keep writing Shannon, please?! And thanks for the wonderful, wonderful reads!!!!


I read Goose Girl, Enna Burning, and River Secrets in one week and I can't get enough of them. So I went back yesterday to Borders and secured myself the last copy of Princess Academy.

Shannon Hale gave me the best experience in whole of my reading life. She can bring out those many expressions I dare not show when reading in trams & trains. But she actually DID that to me last week! :)

I've never written to any writer before and posting here took a lot of courage. But I reckon she deserves to know that, even a 33 yr old mum can go GAGA over her books.

Keep writing Shannon, please?! And thanks for the wonderful, wonderful reads!!!!


I agree with you both, Helen Jennings and xuchele. I know exactly how you feel. I keep going back to my favorite parts of the books and re-reading them. You are a great writer, Shannon.


how come my post went to Helen Jenning's entry as well?


sorry guys, i think i just doubled my entry up above. :D ignore me.


just so, shannon. just so.


Wow, it is kind of weird how everyone keeps agreeing with each other. Doesn't anyone have their own opinion?


Are all of Shannon's entries just one big debate? It gets kind of boring after a while. Are her entries ever fun?


um, yeah, I think if you look from november down it's a awesome spot! and this is really cool, too, hearing people own opinions.


Opinions are the best. You can argue about opinions. Has anyone ever done MUN here?


What is MUN?


Model United Nations. You basically go to conferences representing a country and argue about stuff and create a lot of red tape. However, I went to a three day conference in Salt Lake City that was a total blast.


This journal entry reminded me of I another one. Fans of Sarah Dessen have probably checked out her blog, so you might have remember her entry on a letter from a mother criticizing her book. The mother was appalled that she had used one swear word in her book. So, please go check it out, you will probably have to scroll down, as its the March 28 entry. But, my point is that it relates to this topic a bit.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter

Recently I heard Christopher Paul Curtis speak. A child in the audience asked him why he had a certain character cuss. Chris' response which was so nondefensive and diplomatic, included a sentence to the effect of "I don't know why he talks like that sometimes. We just have to be patient with him."
Those obviously are not his exact words but it points up the fact that our characters have their own reasons for their behavior and authors are obligated to tell the truth about them.
Certainly there's more than one way to portray the fact that a character uses questionable speech - so we do have choices. To some extent I think it really is about what kind of flack the author is willing to take once the character goes public! It's a lot easier to be obscure and unread but so much less fulfilling!

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