Friday, April 29, 2011
Yikes and Other Swear Words
Does it have to be? No.
Stephen King justifies his use of cussing in his novels by claiming it’s a realistic trait for the type of characters he writes. That’s fair enough. However, I won’t write about those kinds of characters.
Sure, many teenagers use expletives like punctuation. It might be ‘realistic’ to write them that way, but I choose not to. Just because everyone swears, doesn’t make it right. Because I write for young adults, I feel I have a certain responsibility towards them. I don’t like to hear the f-bomb on young tongues so I won’t encourage it by writing it. Even if I wrote for adults, I still wouldn’t use those rough, raw words. The most I’ll use are words such as yikes (well, maybe not but it was the only Y word I could think of), crikies, darn.
I came across a problem when I started writing my High Seas fantasy adventure. My Main Character grows up on a ship full of rough sailors. Of course they swore, but how did I write that into the book without using the words we know today? The advantage of writing fantasy and science fiction is that we can make up words. For example, Battlestar Galactica used frak, the Firefly universe used pigeon Chinese I think.
What are your thoughts on swearing in writing? If you also have issues, what do you do to get around it?
Note: This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. To learn more about the challenge click the image on my sidebar.