Revisiting the Swearing Question

Five years ago I wrote a post about how I always avoid profanities in fiction, declaring my stance against including swear words and sex scenes in my books. To begin with, let me just say I’m still fixed upon the non-inclusion of sex (except maybe in fade-to-black-situations), but recently I’ve found myself budging when it comes to swearing.

When before I didn’t think they have any merit, I realise now that there are some situations that call for the occasional f-bomb. When before I thought I could find squeaky clean alternatives, I instead found myself struggling with authenticity. Try as I could to make things work without resorting to profanity, it just wasn’t working this time.

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(Credit: Uncommon Goods)

I’m working on a book (currently) titled “Mail Order Thief”, and my main character is as cynical and rude and angry as they come. When I set out to write him, to draw the outlines of his character, I tried to wash his mouth with soap but he spat it out and snapped at me. He was not amused, not in the slightest, that I was trying to drown out his voice just so I wouldn’t bruise my ideals. Continue reading

To curse or not to curse, that is the question.

This, I believe, has been a long-standing question in the literary world. Each writer is different in what they like and how they prefer to write. Some avoid cursing altogether, some use it sparingly, some drop the F-bomb every once in a while and some practically drown their books with curse words.

Now I don’t know if I’m a minority or anything, but I try my best to avoid curse words… both in writing and in my personal life. It is very rare for anyone to hear me cursing or saying something less than appropriate. The most I will probably say is damn, and the expression, “Sacrebléu!” amuses me greatly. That said, however, I don’t avoid books or movies that contain cursing. It’s just when the characters start going crazy with their crudeness that I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth. Continue reading