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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • When to Use Swear Words in your Writing : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:56 am
by Brian

When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:56 am
by Brian
In every issue in "Writer's Digest"'s InkWell section, we pose a thought-provoking question related to the writing life. In the December issue, Morgan Hunt offers her standard for deciding when–or when not–to use foul language in her writing.
http://www.writersdigest.com/articles/h ... nguage.asp

Do you have a foul-language standard?

To be part of our monthly Conversation, post your response here by hitting the "reply" button. A few responses may be selected to run in a future "WD" newsletter.

RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:23 am
by vikki_m
My rule of thumb is to really know my characters. If swearing is part of their makeup, then, by all means, I use it.

RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:01 pm
by Lightrunner

It seems as though this topic has a pendulum effect.  Lately I see a number of people proposing that use of foul language is wrong and considered lazy and unintelligent.  Other times I have seen people exclaim words are simply words and to use what you want.

I was glad to read her informed article which mentioned something I had thought about before; Foul language can punctuate a point but get boring if used too much.  When I was growing up the big F was held back as a last resort.  Throwing that one in usually meant physical confrontation was soon to follow, however today it seems it is used like any other common part of speech.

During my efforts I have refrained from using harsh language unless I have a scene which would not feel real without it.


RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:04 pm
by cecilla
I think you should be selective when using swear words. If you have a character who uses swear words to express certain emotions, that's fine. When you use swear words because you can't think of anything else, then it's time to get a thesaurus. Too much of anything is not a good thing.

RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:18 pm
by Jamesaritchie

RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:31 pm
by KarenRankowitz

RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:47 pm
by Brain Champagne
As a stand-up comedian this question comes up all the time. While I make it a point to work clean (which differentiates me from about 95% of comedians and makes it much easier for me to get corporate gigs) I do understand the benefit of an occasional swear word.

But that's spoken, when the audience can see the speaker and hear the tone of the spoken word.

In writing it's quite different. I think that most of the time I read a swear word it just seems inappropriate to read vulgar language.

Shaun Eli
Corporate Comedian
www.BrainChampagne.com
Brain Champagne: Clever Comedy for Smart Minds (sm)

RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:33 pm
by abqwriter
I'm always *&^%$#@ careful to watch my ^%$*& language, written or spoken.  I might offend myself, and then who would finish writing the @!!#@$ book?

RE: When to Use Swear Words in your Writing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:42 pm
by KarenRankowitz