Recently, I discovered my niece is writing a book and that she wanted a little feedback. She didn’t have writer’s block per se, but I think her critics had locked her creativity down. Once I got involved, I couldn’t help but encourage her, and she started writing again.
Her story happens to be really interesting. She commented that some other people read it and they demanded that she change things. Like the cursing of her characters. She’s writing about gang kids, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t saying, “darn it” or using a thesaurus to choose more appropriate verbs.
This brings me to an ongoing conversation, one rehashed when I participated in several faith based writing groups. The question: What is your perspective on swearing? Even among the less legalistic faith based communities, the prevalent belief was, if your character would swear, it then it must be written so. I believe you must be true to your characters, not your critics.
Profanity, if used, should reveal the character, or an aspect of him or her, then their language becomes the measure of the character. Gratuitous swearing, on the other hand, reveals more about the writer.
As a reader or a writer, what are your thoughts?