Thursday, May 14, 2009

Working Blue

Okay, if you're like basically everyone I've met who's over the age of 15, you probably use more swear words that you'd like to. I know I do. And, possibly more particular to me, I blaspheme. A lot. So, what's to be done about characters?

A lot of the time, my protagonists talk the way I do. And their friends will probably talk the way my friends and I talk, as well. The down side to that? Generally, my characters aren't living in 21st century America. Heck, often enough, they're not on this planet. So, I guess the inevitable question is, if they don't live like us, can they swear like us?

Personally, I tend to create my own cuss words. My new MS is heavy on oaths like "by the shining moon" or "falling stars" because of the culture of the characters. Those are my replacements for "oh, for the love of God" and "Jesus Christ" and the twenty-something other blasphemies and curses that might have come to my everyday lips.

Anyone else have this problem? How much cursing is really acceptable in a book? How much, as an author, can a person create for a text?


  1. We just blogged about this over at The Literary Lab. A nice long post with lots of great comments. Head on over! You can get the link from my blog in the side bar. The Literary Lab. :D

    I think it was last Wednesday's post.

  2. I never swear! *crosses fingers and knocks on wood*