I know all writers face this question sometime during their writing career, usually very early. A writer has to decide whether or not he is going to include curse words in his writing. I’m talking about fiction writers in this entry. In non-fiction profanity would probably be used more often when quoting someone. My decision about whether or not to include cursing in my writing was easy. I don’t like to hear it spoken and I believe it sometimes shows a person’s limited vocabulary or even IQ. Without a doubt there are those who would disagree with me and that’s fine. I’ve heard the argument, “That’s the way people talk so why not show real people?” Well, as I explained before, I don’t like to hear it spoken and I would like to write it even less. I will use minor curse words in dialogue because they appear more often in regular conversation unless you include Rap music where the occurrence of the F word seems to increase tenfold. I will sometimes use hell or piss but usually only after I am sure it’s necessary to show a character’s frame of mind, upbringing, or disregard for social constraints. At this moment I can’t think of a reason where I would ever include it in a narrative voice.
There is no better way, I believe, to reveal a character’s traits and personality than through dialogue and action. There are those characters who would curse every other word. I’ve been around people who do the same thing. At this point in my life I haven’t seen the need to include a character like that in any of my writing. Whenever you write you must keep your audience in mind and what their response would be to your story telling. It seems to me you would run the risk of offending more readers by including curse words than you would by omitting them. The people I know who do curse quite often and look at it as a foreign language they need to master, enjoy reading the sports section of the newspaper, books that have to do with sports or books or articles which have to do with other special interests they may have. I don’t believe anyone who omits cussing from their writing will ever suffer from it.
Of course this is my opinion. I would be interested to learn what some of you think. Let me know in the comments; to curse or not to curse. As always, thanks for stopping by.
- To curse or not to curse, that is the question. (zenscribbles.wordpress.com)
- Sometimes the Awesome Is Just Too Much for Me (thewritingofbrandybatze.wordpress.com)
- Why the Blank Do We Cuss? (julieglover.com)