Yesterday I happened across an article about Lori Foster’s upcoming release, Back in Black. Since I absolutely love (LOVE) those SBC guys, I’m eagerly anticipating this novel. The article, however, wasn’t so much about the book as it was about characters and how their language makes them more authentic. Specifically, how some characters’ use of “coarse” language makes them more genuine. You can read it here: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Unabashedly-Bookish/Type-Dirty-to-Me/ba-p/462476
Now, let me just begin by admitting something to you all: I swear like a sailor, or rather a sailor’s daughter. Yup, my stepdad who raised me, was in the Navy. I once told him that since he never got any tattoos, swore, or drank himself silly, I had to do it for him. It isn’t that I drop the F-bomb with every other word, but I do use it a lot. I’m sorry if this lowers me in some of your eyes, but it’s just the way I am.
When I’m reading, I’m not offended by the characters’ use of poor language. If anything, for me, it adds to the authenticity of the story. I imagine how I would react in similar situations and think, “Yes, I would definitely be screaming that word at that moment.” You’re walking along a dark, deserted street minding your own business (never mind that you shouldn’t be doing that in the first place because it’s stupid and dangerous). Some fiend (I do love that word), jumps out and accosts you. Do you scream “Oh my!”, or do you let loose with a big, fat “Fuuuuuu-“? (I’ll substitute my favorite word with “fudge”). The latter seems the obvious selection.
I understand a lot of people would rather not read/hear swearing. I respect their choice, and curb my tongue in their presence. However, when I’m reading, I don’t mind salty language. Yes, it’s coarse and, in some people’s opinions, the markings of a lack of education. Yet these words are part of language. They have roots in the history of our language.
Now, for those of you who think I’m completely uncouth, when I’m unable to use the language I’d prefer to, here are samples of my substitutions:
God bless America!
Fudgesicles and brownies! (when I’m really upset)
And then there are the foreign swear words I use when nothing but the real word will do. I wouldn’t say I pride myself with a large vocabulary of foreign swear words, but I can curse in German, French, and Spanish.
How about you? How do you feel about such language in books you read? For the writers, how do you feel about using them? Do you feel as though there’s a big no-no stamped on such language? What are some of your favorite non-swear words?