Writing & Cursing or Cursing Writing?


*This article is for mature audiences only*

I am going to start off by saying that I swear…a lot. Yes, I am a mother of three and sometimes it can be hard not to drop the f-bomb when I want too but inevitably it happens. I see nothing wrong with it nor do I think badly of those that admit to being a potty mouth. I do not condone it in public or around children but sometimes you just have to say ‘Motherfucker, Holy Fuck, Shit, or my personal favorite, douchbag.’

I’m not proud of this flaw in my character but it is one I own up to when questioned or looked upon with disdain by the lovely people in this world who think they are better than me because they don’t even think to call the guy who cut them off in traffic a fucking asshole. I don’t think that ‘Oh maybe he’s had a hard day’, I think he’s a dickhead who is very eager to get home two seconds quicker than me and sit on his ass so he can watch ESPN.

When I started writing my first book, Isle of Skye, I want everyone to know that I did hesitate to throw in curse words. My hands actually hovered over my keyboard as I was about to write my first f-bomb. I knew that once I started down the cursing path, there was no turning back. In the end I decided, that to write the story the way I wanted too, I was going to have to be real and so I wrote out my first ‘What the fuck sentence.’

 Did I realize it may put off a lot of potential readers? Yes, of course but I have always said that I wanted to infuse a sense of realism to an unrealistic genre and to do that I had to write the way I think and unfortunately for my poor mother, I had to drop the F-word. Not once, not twice but several times. I thought about my character and who she was as a person. I went over in my head many times about how I was going to develop her presence as a real human being and not some little girl who says ‘Oh’ a lot or bites her lip and cries.

I wanted to portray my character as a grown woman who has many faults and one of those just happens to be swearing. When I wrote Isle of Night and Isle of Dawn, her cursing became more of a joke and something that people just expected from her. My readers know that as Willa goes through all her trials and tribulations, she grows up, swears less but she’s not always perfect and will drop it from time to time.

My new book, The Cursed Charm, has very little swearing compared to the Skye Trilogy. I wanted my new character Aston to be a bit more reserved and conservative. I did throw it in a few times but certainly not as much as my previous books.

I was thinking about it today because I am going into my final edits and I noticed how the story has less colorful language. I wondered if people will be surprised by it or will they not even notice the absence of cursing. I also recently read an article about this very subject from another writer and I couldn’t believe the people that wrote in to proudly proclaim their lack of swearing.

I mean, look, I think it’s great but can a story be real without a few carefully placed words that some might find offensive? The purpose of writing a book is to create a story someone can relate too, right?

That’s when it hit me. I cannot believe in something unless I think it’s real. I know that there are libraries stacked with wonderful literary masterpieces that do not contain even Hell or Damn but didn’t I start writing for someone like me? Someone who, if they were told there were vampires and witches roaming this world they wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, really? Wow, I always suspected but never really knew until now.’ No, my readers would say, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’

So yes, maybe I have alienated a huge niche of readers but like I have always said, I started this journey with a pledge to write with honesty. It may not be what millions of people want to read but it’s who I am and it’s what I want to write.

Basically, I could give a fuck what someone else thinks.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jane Dutton says:

    Let it go Shannon, everyone will get use to it and it makes good reading !!

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