Warning: Crude language ahead.
This might not be a long post because it feels like a simple topic. Just like sex and violence, cursing is a personal preference category. Some people freak out when you say ‘damn’ while others laugh when you say stuff that is a lot more vulgar. It’s rather interesting how we have a saying ending with ‘words will never hurt me’ and we also have a list of words you can’t say in most situations. Most of them have mundane versions that you can say or you can use #*^@! instead. I’m sure nobody can figure out what f*ck or sh^t is.
Unlike sex and violence, cursing seems to stem a lot more from manners than dangerous activities. I think this comes from us wanting to act and be perceived as mature. Swear words are for ruffians, criminals, the ill-educated, and certain classic authors. Personally, I don’t think the use of cursing is always a sign of low education and intelligence. Some people are amazingly cunning with their use of swear words. Again, that’s just a personal opinion and that’s really all you hear on the topic.
What does this have to do with Crossing Bedlam? Well, I use a lot of swear words in there. Mostly ‘fuck’ and it even has a place in Cassidy’s catchphrase, which is ‘Shut the fuck up, Lloyd!’. The others show up from time to time, but it’s weird. I’ve used the mundane versions for so long that those have become second nature unless it’s a specific situation that makes me think of them. For example, I think Lloyd says butt and rear more than ass. Yet, it seems those are still not as bad as the terrifying f-bomb that will peel the wallpaper, boil your goldfish, mismatch your socks, and make your dear grandmother cry even though she spews curse words like a she has a permanently stubbed toe. Did I have a point here? Maybe.
I think choosing to use or not use swear words is an important one. Not because of your own preferences, but for the story and the opinions of your readers. Swear words won’t work in Legends of Windemere for some reason. They just don’t feel right like they do with Crossing Bedlam. I made the conscious decision to use them instead of doing something like this:
I have to stand by that decision and make it clear from the beginning. For no other reason that people hate being surprised by potty-mouth. Also I really shouldn’t make any apologies for this decision. So does anyone else use curse words in their stories or refuse to even touch them?