I need your help!! Do I edit this word out?

One of my beta readers has brought up a concern with my TWISTED manuscript and I’d like to discuss that with you today. “Ragging”: not the most pleasant word no matter which way you look at it.

Polkadot Princess by Jenica Simpson.
Polka Dot Princess drawing courtesy of Jenica Simpson.

Wikipedia suggests… “Ragging is a practice in educational institutions… that involves existing students baiting or bullying new students.”

That is not the term I am referring to here now. Consider the “vulgar slang” version of the word.

UrbanDictionary.com suggests “ragging” is: Menstruating. i.e. when a woman has her period. The origin is possibly from the days when women had to use rags as sanitary towels.
“She’s always moody when ragging – she’ll be better in a day or two.”

 BAM!! That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
First off, let me give you the scenario. This is an excerpt from Chapter Four of my TWISTED novel, when Abigail Jenkins realizes that she has caught feelings for her ex-boy toy and current housemate Edwin Santora. I’ve highlighted the sentence in question.

A smile curled on my trembling lips, as I tried to explain the exhilaration suddenly pulsing through my veins. Butterflies danced in my belly and the hairs on the nape of my neck stood on end. Unfortunately the tingling sensations didn’t stop there. Am I sick? I certainly didn’t feel ill this morning.

    “Everything okay?” Edwin asked, noticing my internal conflict.

    It was written all over my face. “I’m okay, I guess. My stomach’s just a little upset,” I said, trying hard to find something unappetizing about him.

    “You ragging?”

    “Edwin! No, I’m not ragging,” I screeched, angered by his insinuation.

    “You know what I always say. Never trust anything that bleeds for five days straight and doesn’t die,” he teased.

    “You stop it!”

    “Just sayin’.”

    As we motored off, I had to hand it to him, I was acting rather strange. I had felt that feeling for Edwin before and I knew exactly what it was. But could it really be that?

So what do you think? Are you offended by the use of the word “ragging”? Is there another word that you think would do the sentence justice in its place?

Keep in mind that Edwin, the man saying the statement is, for lack of a better name, a smart ass. Does that change your perspective at all? Personally I think the word fits his attitude just right, but I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.  🙂

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5 comments

  1. I don’t think it’s a matter of the term being offensive or not. In the context it was used, it was derogatory and demeaning for Edwin to say it. If it’s in-character for him to say, then it’s right.

    The concern for me, anyway, is that it’s somewhat obscure and the reader might not understand it, or it might pull them out of the story to think about it, which is not the desired effect at all. Consider prefacing it with additional context – “You’ve been very moody today. You ragging?”

    That is only a suggestion, and perhaps it’s not as obscure as I think it is. 🙂

    Having read several YA novels with my son, soft-core slang like this is used regularly. They avoid F*** and S*** and so on, but something like this would be acceptable in that market, and certainly ok in genres intended for adults.

    Good luck with it!

    ML

    Like

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