Aye, There's the Rub!
I know some people don’t get their knickers in a twist about swearing. There are some that cuss as part of everyday conversation. I try not to swear, though it’s still a work in progress. In my opinion, there’s no (or little) call for swearing in print. I’m sure my writing slips up, but for the most part my stories don’t include any cussing. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of books I enjoy that have used “those” words. I won’t call it lazy writing, because anyone who goes through the efforts needed to publish are anything but lazy. Nor will I call it a lack of imagination, because there’s plenty of that in most books I’ve read. Those authors are simply putting their imagination and effort to different uses. I used to go back and forth with the late Earl Chessher about swearing. He was of the “it’s reality” camp, and there’s a lot of truth to that. If you’re writing military fiction, there’s no surprise when the characters swear. I have a different idea. While people in the military swear, not every word they use is a cuss word, right? (I know, it might seem like it.) Is anyone surprised when character doesn’t swear? Do you even notice? My idea is nobody will notice if the story is written skillfully enough. I even wrote a short piece about hardened dock workers and a refugee nun. Nobody who read it doubted those dock workers were worldly, crass, tough guys. No cussing in the 400 words. The upshot is, if written right, nobody will miss it. If you put some in, perhaps nobody will notice. Too much, and you’ll risk alienating potential readers. IMO, getting a following is hard enough. Why put things in that will push potential readers into leaving that book on the shelf? Would that refugee nun read your book? She’d read mine. Again, this is simply MY OPINION. Other authors who will be blogging here have different ideas, and that’s great. If everyone though the same, the world would be a boring place. Unless they all thought like me. THAT would be pretty interesting. Wouldn’t it? Hmmm. Is there a story in that idea?