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Re: Blah blah blah, writing, blah blah blah.
Posted By: Quartz, on host
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2001, at 16:50:13
In Reply To: Re: Blah blah blah, writing, blah blah blah. posted by Don the Monkeyman on Tuesday, March 13, 2001, at 14:58:29:

> Well, I don't really know how helpful this is, but I personally would not have my characters swear in any story I wrote. I think when I was writing them in the first place, they might swear because my mind would envision the characters that way. However, I know that it is possible to re-write such text so that the swearing is removed. I have seen this done, and do not feel that it detracts from the story in any way, because the swearing usually did not add anything in the first place. In general, I don't think people notice a lack of swearing and are disappointed; however, some would notice the presence of the swearing and be turned off of the story. Basically, the only reason I can ever see for having characters swear would be for character development, but I am confident that any character traits which would be displayed through use of profanity could be developed through other means.

I know that people don't seek out swear words, and I myself and turned off by a story with swearing. However, a LOT of Science Fiction (which is what I mostly write) has it. I know that doesn't make it right, though. Character development is mainly what I was thinking about this for, but I agree the character's personalities can be shown in other ways.

> Finally, I think that it is possible to have characters swear without being explicit about it. Consider the following two sentences:
> "Oh, hell," he said, as the ship's engine began to power down.
> He swore suddenly as the ship's engine began to power down.
> I think either of these is equally effective (the second may even be MORE effective than the first), and even stronger profanities can often be more forcefully represented without explicitly stating them. Another nice aspect of this is that it leaves the specifics up to the reader's imagination. The reader will insert a profanity which seems appropriate to his own experiences, and this will further draw him into the story, as well as tailoring the level of profanity in the story to fit his comfort level.

That's a good idea. I used to post on a kid's writing website where we weren't allowed to have swearing in the stories, but we could write things like "he cursed under his breath". The latter way does seem a little more...mature to me.

> I could probably go one for longer, but I feel that I have said enough for now. I am curious to see what others have to say on this subject.
> Don "Doesn't swear either, except under the worst of circumstances, and even then, regrets it" Monkey

Qua "Once again Don gave me something to think about" rtz