1. Fei
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    Fei New Member

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    How Much "Course Language"?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Fei, Nov 6, 2011.

    I'm still just getting to know all these different sub-forums, so forgive me if this isn't the right place to post a thread like this.

    Anyways, I just wanted to ask: when you are writing, do your characters swear/use "curse words"? How often is it appropriate to have a character swear, or is that completely up to the writer or based on the character?

    I'm asking just because in my own dialogue in reality, I swear quite a lot, and to me it just feels natural that (some) characters that I'm writing would as well. Of course, it's not every other word, it's not a orgy of profanity, and certain characters do not swear at all, but I don't feel inclined to shy away from using course language and I'm wondering if, in general, people are comfortable with and/or accepting of it when reading it. I tend to have characters swear a lot more than I've ever read in books, so I'm wondering if I'm going a little crazy with it.
     
  2. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    This is the right place since it's about your characters.

    When I write, I write for myself primarily. So if I want my characters to use vulgar language, than they will. It's up to you, but should also be based upon the character. :)

    A lot of people dislike vulgar words because they aren't very descriptive, but not everything needs to be described. Sometimes people speak without thinking, which is usually how cursing happens.
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    As long as the swearing goes with your character, I see no problem with it. It is honestly up to you to decide if it is too much or too little for your character. It is your character after all. :)

    I myself would not shy away from a book that had a character with a foul mouth.

    But, you need to ask yourself; do you want to alienate a big chunk of readers just to have swearing? If you want this to be an adult only book, than cool. If not, you have a problem, haha.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Deleting some of the coarse language is like deleting any other superfluous language, and all the extra 'umms' and 'ahs'. You can have some if it's really necessary to show character or something, imo, but it gets annoying if every other sentence has a curse in it. And the strength of the words you use depends on the market you are aiming for.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto madhoca's observations on the subject...
     
  6. Fei
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    Fei New Member

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    Wow...I feel like an idiot. COARSE, not course, language. I knew that :redface:

    Anyways, thank you everyone for your replies, it gave me a good picture of what is appropriate. I don't want to say "I'm never going to get published", because that's just a bad attitude all round, but honestly...I am probably not going to have *all* my things get published. The stuff with profanity is generally not the first on my to-be-published list, so it is not like everyone is going to be reading it.
     
  7. soital
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    soital Member

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    I agree with the above posts BUT, personnaly in ym family setting I rarely swear, and even amongst friends I contain myself more then them, which isnt saying a lot. I feel that sometimes swearing is more descriptive then it may seem. When I get pissed, I begin to swear. If I have a typical argument it involves "i hate you or dislike you, blah blah blah. BUT when it turns into I ****ing hate you you *******......etc, you see how you can tell just how angry I am. but thats just my view on the subject.
     
  8. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it has a place but is largely overused in fiction based on what I read. It looses it's effect, IMO, when it's overused. Granted, I hear teens in the more use coarse language only slightly less than articles but still, in a book, it's distracting unless it has meaning.
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no problem with coarse language if it fits the character. At the same time, we need to be careful of distinguishing between what works in a story and what happens in reality. I know a lot of people (mostly younger, for some reason) who use f**k almost every other word. That doesn't mean that will work in a story. I think it's possible to 'flavor' the character's dialogue with profanity without constant use (He swore again. versus "F**k that," he muttered., as a [poor] example.)
     
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  10. bazzie
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    bazzie Member

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    Hi,
    I don't know the full context of the book, but in some plots (that are not 100% based on modern day real world) your character can curse/swear/use foul language that are not the same words that we would use today. I always thought a great example of this was the use of "frak" in battlestar galatica. If it's a fantasy plot, then you can make up any word (name of that world's deity for example) that the reader will understand is swearing, but as it isn't our current language (fuck, shit etc) then it can be a lot more palatable, and offend less people, without harming the character....
    bazzie
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I do not care how much or how little foul language appears, so long as it is in keeping with the character. So I am in agreement with others who have mentioned this above. If the character is prone to swearing, and suddenly start speaking like a choir boy because the author is afraid swearing has been overused, I think it will appear inconsistent.
     
  12. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    Sweaing is up to the author first and foremost. In my books I use coarse language if it fits the character. I dislike reading a book where a character seems like he or she would swear but instead a 'clean' substitute is used, it breaks immersion in the story almost as much as too much swearing for the character.
     
  13. Fei
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    Fei New Member

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    You've clearly never met my dad! LOL

    This is a good idea, thank you.

    This is a really good idea. I like this. It would seem, though, that "modern day" swear words have more power with people, though, because they know what it means. I suppose if I were to have characters swear incessantly (a bit of an exaggeration), then I would create my own swear words, but if it were only once in a while for effect, I'd use words the public can relate to and realize "Oh man, something is bad to set this character off."
     

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