Lately, I’ve been thinking about swearing in literature. I’m concerned about whether the exclusion of cussing in my written words might be seen as inauthentic or inaccurate.
As writers, we need to convince our audience that a scene happens. The characters are real, even if they can conjure a blue flame or fly on a dragon. The character conversations also need to sound humanoid so that readers follow it.
You may be wondering what the big deal is, since I probably talk or listen to talking all the time. Right? Well, the ‘big deal’ is that I am not around a lot of colorful language. A lesser-known fact about the LDS peoples I am part of is that they/we don’t swear. I kid you not.
In overhearing a group of teenagers at McDonald’s the other day, I heard plenty of, “I know right”‘s and “What the heck?”s but nothing stronger.
My children will sometimes pop out a, “Holy crap!” (surely picked up from their father), and said paternal figure sometimes gives me a reprimanding look.
When I type or say, “Gosh dang it!” I really say it. There was even a point in my life at which I could count on one hand the number of times I swore. Then I turned 15….
In my mind, I take the high road. Classic literature and timeless works also do not contain much in the way of low-class utterances (Mark Twain aside), particularly those aimed at the children’s market. The books I enjoy most have little cursing, plus only allusions to sex or violence instead of First-Person Agony.
Do you, the other writers out there, feel swearing is necessary? Can two people have an adult conversation without it?
Think about it and let me know. Meanwhile, here is my Week in Review:
Wednesday, November 21: The Truth About the Holidays, my crotchety old lady post, plus a weekly review.
Thursday, November 22: Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 23: Winner of The Second Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations, Babbitman.
Saturday, November 24: Beginning of The Third Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (please enter!).
Also, Everyone Feels This Way?, a ‘poem’ about social anxiety.
Sunday, November 25: Re-blogged the announcement about Susanna Leonard Hill’s children’s holiday story contest.
Monday, November 26: Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Three,
and Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Price Tag over at my motherhood site.
Tuesday, November 27: Inspirational Quote by Stephen Black. He’s a
mean old miser humble, inspired person who is mean mean mean has great thoughts and observations.
Wednesday, November 28: This post. 🙂