This is a question I have been asking myself lately because some of my characters have mouths on them. Publishers always mention that they don't want excessive violence, sex, and profanity. I try to keep violence realistic and my characters consistent, especially in the dialogue. Basically I'm worried about slush readers being turned off by off color dialogue. In a recent short story of mine I have an MC who is young, doesn't follow the rules, and is in a scary situation. What do most young people without a sense of right and wrong do in their speech? They curse, and my MC is no exception. The profanity was pretty tame for most of my story until I came to one scene where the MC is wounded and reeling pissed. He goes on a short rant dropping 1 or 2 f-bombs in every sentence. It's brief and he seems to be cursing for the sake of cursing because he is. I don't feel I went overboard, but then again I'm not sure. What I notice in a lot of stories is that many authors seem to skip over stuff like that. I read a lot of "he cursed under his breath" "he went a rant filled with lots of curse words" "they angrily cursed each other out". I don't like to skip out on dialogue. I remember Robet Ludlum always had some profane characters, usually they were the more educated and intelligent characters which gave it some comic relief. Last two non-fiction books I read were loaded with profanity, there was some even in the dialogue, but these are novels, not short stories. Bottom line is am I taking a risk by not skipping over these scenes? Or am I just being paranoid as the publishers probably mean stuff that reads like "Johnathon --ing woke up early today to go to the --ing doctors."