|swearing in cartoon Suomi: Kiroileva sarjakuvahahmo Nederlands: Schelden en vloeken in strips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Where Do You Draw the Line?
Is it just me, or do people swear now more than ever? It feels as though, particularly in the past several years, the sensor button has been turned off and pretty much anything goes. I have to admit I am as guilty as anyone. I don’t allow my kids to swear and yet I catch myself doing it more often than I should.
Well, “should” is an odd choice of word. Should we ever swear? Probably not, but I find even my church attending Christian friends swear, and to be honest it always makes me laugh. As someone who went through Catholic school, this is so daring and wrong that it almost delights me. Not appropriate, I know.
Here is where I draw the line (and sometimes it is literally in a line): it is when I am around young children or anyone older than me. In both of those situations it feels disrespectful. Those of us in the middle, however, have been raised on cable television, nudity in movies and that whole sexual revolution. This is not to say I would swear with a relative stranger or walk up to someone and ask how the bleep they are. That would be crass.
This has come up in my writing as well. I don’t ever want to scare away readers, and at the same time, I pride myself on creating characters that are real and relatable. I would never throw in profanity just for the sake of being edgy. At the same time, there are some situations where a person and/or character would not respond with a “Golly gee”, and right or wrong, certain words have much more force. When I write, I rarely know what is going to happen next, let alone what is liable to come out of a character’s mouth. It is one of the things I enjoy most about writing. Even now, I am totally winging this post. Still, at the finish of a novel I read through the manuscript and worry that an entire body of work will be judged by a few words. It’s a conundrum.
Bridget Straub is the author of three novels: “Searching for My Wand”, “On a Hot August Afternoon” and “The Salacious Marny Ottwiler”. All are available on Amazon.http://www.amazon.com/Bridget-Straub/e/B006KEG0KE
How do you think is the best way to deal with profanity in writing when it seems appropriate to your characters? Does an author's use of profanity in a work bother you? What do you think is the best way to avoid profanity in writing or do you think doing so lessens the integrity of the credibility of the writing?