I have always debated on the concept of characters cussing and not cussing, verses if it seems real or doesn’t seem realistic.
I’m not much of a cusser (I’m saying this because I do have my slip-ups, but I generally don’t cuss, nor do I support it), and I really don’t want my characters in my books to cuss. But where is the line drawn with realism of characters in books? If I choose for my characters to not cuss, would that make them seem less real?
Right now, in my fantasy trilogy WISHBOOKS of DISTORIA, none of my characters curses. However, now I have the thought that if there comes a situation that a real person would probably utter a cuss word, but I choose to not type it in, would it take the realism away? Thus, making my story suffer a blow of not seeming real enough?
I have a strong hold in my characters not cussing, because I don’t support it, nor do I really want to influence it to my readers. This is a debate I have had for years now, and this article just brought it back up again. So for this concept I’m for it, and then I’m against it.
In my opinion, I think it depends on what kind of story you’re writing. Mine is in a fantasy world, following a fifteen-year-old girl, who is pretty innocent. I may be able to get away with no cursing in these books. But then, I am still debating on the idea of it.
So I guess this takes me to neutral territory on the subject of Coarse Language in books.
Give me your thoughts!
Is this a concept you’ve thought over?
Probably the first rule of being a novelist is to be truthful and honest in everything you produce. That means putting the right words into your characters’ mouths. For me, part of that truthfulness is occasionally having my characters use profanities. Now let me make this 100% clear. I never have my characters cursing to simply look cool or grab the reader’s attention. I only have them do so when the scene dictates a tense or angry mood in which real people might use these very emotional words.
Black and White, which centers on racial prejudice, has a fair number of racial slurs. So does Response, which is a about NYC hate crime, and Rooftop, which is about the shooting of an unarmed black teen by the police. The language is there because these are the real words I have heard people use in the real-life situations mirrored…
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