Swearing

Late last month, a couple of bloggers were discussing the use of the F-Bomb, and other cuss words in books, so I thought I share my views here.

In my opinion, swearing in novels is becoming more and more frequent in newer novels. When I first started reading ‘adult novels’ they didn’t contain any swearing in them at all. Now days, I read novels, and find the F-Bomb everywhere. The words are tossed around, thrown into any old sentence. Some authors use it so much, it loses its emphasise.

What I hate however, is swearing in writing other than dialogue. For me, dialogue is alright to swear in, because, well, most of the human population swears. So naturally, your characters will swear. However, some authors use swearing in descriptions of things. For example, the truck was f***ing massive. In my opinion, the cuss word is unnecessary, and looks like the author is trying to be tough. The truck was massive would be suffice. (Of course, if the narrative was written in first person, then the F-Bomb would be alright, as it’s the character saying the sentence).

What are your thoughts?

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5 Responses to Swearing

  1. pattyjansen says:

    I think that narrative is an extension of dialogue by the POV character. It the POV character swears a lot, then having the narrative free of swearing creates a kind of weird dichotomy that causes readers to say that the narrative is distant. Unless you write in omniscient, the narrative should ideally be written in the voice of the POV character.

  2. Wendy says:

    Quite frankly, I think the frequent use of F-Bomb’s is either a lack of brain cells or imagination. Probably both.

    I get so bored with it. And yes, of course I swear behind closed doors, but have no intention of using those types of words in my novel.

    Good post, Little Scribbler. I always enjoy popping in here 🙂

  3. Barb says:

    could also be third person limited, i.e. even if it’s third person narration, we see things through the character’s viewpoint…
    Personally, I use the F-bomb only in dialogue, and as I write sword&sorcery, it was suggested I avoid it… I still haven’t decided it yet, though. In my WIP it’s only one character that uses the word, and he uses it max.3 times in the whole novel… is it so bad if I leave it in?
    Great post, keep writing! 😀

  4. AshN says:

    I view profane words as I do regular words — they’re a tool to be used carefully. People sometimes dismiss the use of profanity as crass or unnecessary, but if you study what profanity *is*, you’ll realize it’s a very interesting tool to use. What is considered “vulgar” language by a population is centered around squeamish concepts or taboos. It hits the raw nerves of a society, so to speak, and provides a glimpse of what makes that culture tick… or blush, as the case may be. 😀

    So yeah, I think profanity is extremely powerful, and like everything else in writing, extremely easy to misuse.

  5. I don’t actually swear in writing though I might write that a certain character swore. People can fill in their favourite word in that space and make it as nice or as nasty as they like. This way, hopefully, I offend no one.

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