veryone says something accidently. You’ll be telling a joke and only afterwards find out that someone in your group is in AA, or Jewish, or something. That’s the problem with the spoken word – once the jaw-gate is open, words are off like a shot.
For writing, we have a lot more time to consider our dialog. We might come back and read something we’d written and rethink it. Things might be over-the-top vulgar (requiring dilution) or they might be overly PC (requiring backbone). But unlike the spoken word, with writing we have time to be pithy, clever, shrewd, and very very correct.
I was listening to something Hillary Clinton was saying on the campaign trail recently. She’s added autism to her planks, pushing it as an issue. Of course, I can easily say (with no skin-on-the-ball) that it is an important issue, that it’s good that mental health is becoming something we need (as an electorate) to talk about. And so she was talking about it. But that’s when she dropped a clunker.
In discussing the obligations of parents to deal with the pressure of raising a special-needs child, she noted that such parents could easily be “at wit’s end.”
Which is, when you think about it, an extremely poor choice of words.
Now, yes, it was spoken, but really, it was written. Some speech writer in her bus sat at his or her laptop and banged out this passionate speech. Everyone scanned it over and nodded; looks good. Nobody thought about the twisty nature of words, and how in certain contexts they could really play poorly.
Always keep this in mind when writing your own tales. Of course it will be hard to catch, but then again, just being aware might save you from the open scandal that might sink your first published novel.