Note: Due to the possible reading audience of more sensitive types (like the Pope), I am substituting the many curse words in this article with the names of fruits.
And thanks for the visit, your holiness.
Writing Advice: When To Add Your Favorite Grape-ing Cuss Word
I don’t understand the social stigma against curse words. I LOVE cursing! They fill in a void in language that other words like “shucks” and “drat” can’t fill.
I’ve heard resorting to curse words is indicative of a poor vocabulary, bad breeding, or demonic possession. Nonsense, nonsense, and that would be awesome but it’s not likely.
Using curse words are indicative of none of those. They are like any other method of communication: it depends on how you use it.
Cursing is awesome and can be done anywhere! At the yacht, in the slaves quarters, at the Mormon temple, in a cave, at the Scouting jamboree, dancing at the cotillion, at Snake Canyon, during the Rose Bowl, the possibilities are endless!
I myself recommend cussing in church. There is something satisfying about a social transgression. Don’t just blurt it out, though. The fine art of using curse words requires situational awareness and a delicate approach. Don’t just say strawberry or avocado willy-nilly.
No, you must be strategic when cussing.
Cussing is used to shock or to get a very strong emotion across. Cussing for shock value is becoming harder these days (thanks, Internet) but there are a few cuss words that really charge some people up.
Two offensive ones refer to a woman’s private parts. Not a specific woman, mind you. No one has gone up to, say, Shannon and said “I understand your specific sexual organs are the source of two of the most offensive words in use today.”
Funnily enough, in England the “t-word” isn’t that shocking.
Here is the power of cussing though. Whenever I say “the t-word” or the “f-word” or whatever-word, I am still placing that word in your head. I am making you think it rather than you hear it. Weird, huh?
I suppose though that this is the point of writing in general. When you write a description, write dialogue, or pen an over-long screed like this, you are putting an image in someone else’s head.
When I write “look! A beaver is hate-oranging a sleeping moose!” the image, however brief, very likely flashes in your head against your will. Power!!!
I guess cussing is “common” because anyone can do it. But then again, anyone can write “poetry.” But if you want to be good at it, you have to play with words and know the reaction you want. Cussing can be like poetry of the streets.
So cuss away! But too much cussing will probably change your publishability. OMG that’s actually a word. HIGH FIVE! Start again.
So cuss away! But too much cussing will probably change your publishability (eeeeee!) You might want to tone the Tarantino-talk a little, especially if you’re a new writer. Make it easy to read for all, including the stupid fucksticks who are offended by cuss words.