No swearing until you really, really have to.

If you want to sound serious, and by serious I mean like an adult, the modern writer could very well sprinkle their writing with some earthy prose, like the word fuck.

Did he just say fuck?

I believe he did.

Oh shit!


I got to go to the bathroom.

Oh, second door to the left.

Thank you!

Now the quoted text above (self reference if you must know) was an attempt at sounding adult, clever and funny, all at the same time.

Your mileage may vary.

I should have thrown in a NSFW warning there.

Oh well….

But most of the time it’s not necessary to swear. Not that you have to have your characters act the proverbial Ned Flanders, fraking every other swear word because you don’t want to offend. If the character wants you to fuck off he should say so.

On the other hand like the proverbial sex scene (again with the not so clever self references, bravo), drop one to many f-bombs and it gets boring really fast, like a South Park episode without the bleeping. In fact I preferred South Park WITH the bleeping, made that much funnier when I had to guess what those little bastards were mouthing off in every other breath.

There are always exceptions to the rule.

(Exercise extreme caution in pressing the link. Lots of naughty things will come streaming through your speakers. Just saying.)

But again, your mileage, well you know.

It really comes down to word choice. Sometimes a good fuck goes a long way. Sometimes not, then again it should always go a long way, unless it was a bad fuck, in which case, well shit, your fucked!

Remember it is only gratuitous if it doesn’t work.

Now please, get your bucket of soap, a comfy couch and enjoy the following short film:

12 comments on “No swearing until you really, really have to.

  1. I love the idea of implied cursing. My friends and I enjoy watching the TV show Supernatural. There was one episode spoofing Ghost Hunters and, being “reality,” bleeped out the main characters’ lines. After watching the episode, one friend remarked, “You know, I always knew that the Winchesters swear all the time.” All implied, as its on a basic station, but just those few bleeped out lines drew to our attention that the writers don’t use swears more powerful than “damn!” and “son of a bitch,” but we as the viewers assumed the more “adult” ones.


    • They do cuss. They might be mild by today’s standards (which shows how quickly words can lose their power to shock us). What I really hate is when I know that the character would swear until his face turned red but for some reason we don’t hear a syllable specially in books that are geared for an adult audience. Like I said, it’s all about timing, word choice, character and audience.


  2. I adore that picture! Where’d you find it?

    As for swearing, it doesn’t bother me unless it seems the writer is using it for shock value. It just comes out sounding so juvenile.


    • I don’t mind it either, except when it is lazy writing like so called “shock writing”. It’s not like I am going to go “oh me virgin ears, they bleed!” or some such. Now the right word at the right time can have the kind of “shock” that punches up a scene, and in some cases makes the whole book.

      As for the picture:


      The doggie version of lolcats!


  3. […] This scene has been bouncing around my mind for sometime and I thought that it would fit here as part of Flash Fiction Friday. It is written in script form (or as close to it as I can manage) and it gets its NSFW rating do to the use (and abuse) of a certain word. […]


  4. I have to agree it is defiantely all about timing otherwise like you said “it gets boring really fast” 🙂 btw That clip on “Fable” was hilarious. ;p


  5. Ralfast,

    Thanks for the link! 🙂


  6. I meant the one with the pictures of the loldogs.

    But also, thanks again for all the steampunk links you gave me over at my site. Very helpful and inspiring. 🙂


  7. […] am NOT saying that you have to keep your characters prim and proper, your battles bloodless.  But remeber, if you write it you own it. Be responsible and make sure it […]


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