$%#! It; Cursing in Writing

I recently read an interesting post on Writer Unboxed in which Keith Cronin discussed whether or not to “talk dirty” and use curse words in writing when seeking publication.


I thoroughly enjoyed his post – especially its tongue in cheek tone. For instance…

I’ve learned that there are more people than I thought who are offended by profanity. And not just the F bomb. Several reviewers have taken me to task for “using the Lord’s name in vain.” Others simply complain about “swearing” or “foul language.”

My reaction to the first bad review was, well… fuck ‘em.

Now, I rarely swear. At all. Okay, except when I shut my finger in the car door, or trip over a plastic dog toy in the dark. But other than that, I just don’t. And, if we’re being honest, I don’t really like to hear all that much swearing.

However, I can read it to my heart’s content and be completely unruffled by it. Currently, I’m reading Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep, an urban fantasy in which the F-word and others prance across every chapter.


And it truly doesn’t bother me.

Which makes me wonder: does anyone else have this same quirk? I don’t like reading about rape, gratuitous violence, etc., but swearing can appear on every page and, if it’s in character, I don’t blink an eye. Am I the exception to the rule? Are most people either pro- or anti-swearing in life and in print?


4 thoughts on “$%#! It; Cursing in Writing

  1. I think a bit of swearing to emphasise a point is fine. But only if it is in character. If it seems realistic for that character to be swearing then go for it, I say

  2. I agree! It can also be used to show the stress a character is under if they don’t normally swear, but suddenly do. I think it can be effective, but if overdone it loses its impact.

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