Not too long ago, while moderating BINGO with a small group of second graders,one little boy said, “What the hell, Miss Pope? That is some BS.” That is an exact quote from an eight year old. I opened my mouth to correct his language when I realized not a single one of the other students batted a lash. Nobody was eager to tattle. The child’s less than clean language didn’t surprise them at all. Why is that?
I think I know the answer to that question. We are a nation of potty mouths. I’ll admit it. I have one. I have four brothers, a Cop father and a mother who can curse so elegantly that it brings tears to my eyes. I was destined to have one. I have let a few choice words go in traffic, or when I’ve dropped something on my foot, or when I can’t get my hair right, or for any reason really. All of my friends are big fat potty mouths. My coworkers too. I have to admit I love when a person can curse effectively but not gratuitously, who can express themselves while not putting down others.
This position maybe controversial to some but to me cuss words are just words. Words with interesting history. Do a search of your favorites and see what comes up. (Make sure you include history of in the search.) You’ll be surprised by the history of these words. That being said there is a time and place for everything. Cussing in church is a no-no. Watch your mouth around other people’s small children and at the library, the bank, or around your grandmother. Try not to cuss at your boss no matter how much they may have it coming.
What does any of this have to do with writing? I’ll tell you. It’s okay to use cuss words when you write, especially if you are writing contemporary romance. People are potty mouths by nature.When I read a book I want my characters as realistic as possible and real people cuss. During love scenes I like when a writer goes for it instead of using words like, flower and petal, and bud, because NOBODY talks like that. It’s up to us as writers to find a balance when using colorful words and if cussing doesn’t feel right to you than don’t do it.
Of course this is just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions… Ultimately it comes down to what you are comfortable with. Now it’s your turn to share with me. How do you really feel about cursing? Are you a potty mouth? Do you use colorful language when you write? Do you disagree with me? Any comment is fine folks… as long as you keep it clean 😉