A new member of my critique group sent an email asking me and another older member if she would offend if she used the “f” word in the story she was writing.
I wrote back and told her that I’d both read and heard the word before and if it fit the character by all means use it.
However, I also told her that I don’t use that word or other curse or guttural words in my books–though I do write things like, “he spit out a slew of curse words.” I confess to using the word “crap” though. Why I think that’s more acceptable, I don’t know, except that I’ve been known to say it myself at times.
When I first started writing, my mom was reading my manuscripts, and I held back with the “bad” words because I knew my mom would be unhappy reading them. Of course I left the romantic sex scenes in, which she commented about–but didn’t seem to mind.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I read books that have such words in them–however, I notice the books I like best don’t seem to need curse words and the characterizations don’t suffer because of it.
I’ve read some books that would have worked just fine without having the curse words sprinkled liberally on every page. Feel the same way about some movies.
Getting back to the critique group, have to laugh because I forget how old I am and I’m sure that’s why the young woman felt she needed to ask.
Let me know how you feel about your characters and what they have to say.