…it’s how you say it

Curses, foiled again!
Curses, foiled again!

Everyone who knows me at all knows that I have a potty mouth.  It’s true.  I can cuss a blue streak.  I’m not particularly proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it either.  I realize that there are a plethora of words out there to choose (I am a writer, after all) from but, at times, I choose the dirty words–the ones that offer a cathartic release when shouted or growled.  And this served me well.

Recently, I wrote a bit of flash fiction for a Facebook writing group to which I belong.  The theme was “Imminent.”  A germ of an idea floated around in my head for a day or two, and then it started to grow.  I decided that the story needed to be told from the first person POV, because of the nature of the tale.  I started fleshing out my idea and as the character revealed himself to me, I realized that his language was even coarser than my own (if that is even possible).  I wasn’t sure of this group’s policy on profanity so, not wanting to offend anyone, I asked.  The general consensus was that, if it was honestly necessary for the story, it should be fine.

I was relieved when the group confirmed my suspicion that this character simply would have a foul mouth.  Not in an angry, raging way…but as part of his everyday speech.  His choice of words meant something, it said something about his personality and his relationships.

I suppose that my potty mouth likewise says something about me…about my relationships.  I hope it means that I am surrounded by friends who don’t give a &%$*$(#*(*# if I talk a blue streak, and readers who care enough about my characters to look for the meaning behind the words.


2 thoughts on “…it’s how you say it

  1. I won’t give a flying $%&# if you won’t! 🙂

    Words have power. We have always known this. And words express the background, emotions, and personality of our characters. If your character says f&*k every other word, so be it! That’s who they are; that’s how they feel. You are only mirroring the world around you. Some folk are eloquent, some folk aren’t, and some folk know how to throw a little attention-catching flair into an otherwise eloquent phrase when they need to. Anyone who doesn’t understand this (and accept it) doesn’t understand the full color palate of human language (in any tongue). You know how to wield that language brush to its fullest effect!


  2. I have absolutely nothing against profanity in fiction. Especially if it belongs to a character, if it is that character’s personality trait. I only dislike it in the actual narrative, if it’s not entirely the character’s POV but the author’s. In distant third person POV, it can be distracting. But in first person, or intimate third person, it can be a blast to read. 🙂


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