Thursday, March 17, 2011

Foul language in writing.

Read someone's post on the other day asking if foul language was necessary in writing...
My first reaction? "Fuck yah!"
Then I thought about it... It can be distracting. Ever watch a C-List comedian fill their 10 minute spot with curse words? Take them out and what's left? One... maybe two jokes?
I have no problem with profanity and hardly anything offends me, but for a character to be a character, they have to have more than one dimension. Too much repetition of any word or style is distracting and can pull the reader out of the story. I'm currently editing a story and found that there are 159 cases of someone "looking" a certain way, "Looking" at someone, or that someone "looked" at something or someone... It made me queasy... The thesaurus is a great invention.
So swear it up, but make your character mean it, and let them have something else to say. Give them depth, even in the gutter.


  1. Thanks for this, Dan. I was told the other day that I had a 'gift for weaving words', and that I should leave profanity out of them, However, I agree with you. Given the situation/character/moment, colorful words and or all of their many euphemisms are needed.

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