How we speak isn’t reflective of how we write. If it were, "fuck" would appear in every third paragraph. Oh yes, I said it. I wrote it. I did it.
Fuck is one of my favorite -- therefore well abused – words. It’s not for a lack of mental access to superlatives. I know my fair share of adjectives, verbs, and nouns. It’s not because I developed a secret passion for the flavor of Ivory soap as a lippy pubescent. It is because four letters mixed with intonation and physical demonstration convey a wealth of emotion and meaning.
Fuck + Pronoun
“Fuck it.” “Fuck me.” “Fuck him.” When you hear me, you know if I’m horny, thrilled, or fed up. If you see my expression and gauge my posture, you get the full impact of the word and the meaning I intend. Without the whole of me to support the word, the sentiment loses its value. Without the whole of me to witness the observer's reaction to my use of the word, well, it's like farting in an empty church. You have to be there to really get the impact of it.
Too much fucking is bad.
I say “fuck” a lot in my everyday speech. I rarely use it in my writing. That one word has a power few other English words have. It’s like a wizard’s spell – you can use it once to achieve great impact. After that, it loses its potency. Remember “Catcher In the Rye”? The first two or three times Holden uses it, it’s titillating. He’s such a rebel. He’s dropping the F-bomb. In a book. In a book the school is making you read. By the end of Chapter Two he’s just a twerp with an attitude.
Damn the Bitch to Hell and all that Shit
My characters do succumb to potty mouth when the scene merits it. Whether the fantasy is Urban or Epic, swearing happens. I’m a big fan of “godsdamnit.” I often have to remind myself that “hell” isn’t blasphemous if there is no concept of Hell or Hel. If the story involves were-beasts/shifters, a bitch might well mean female dog. If there are no dogs in the world then there can’t be bitches. At some point everybody has to take a dump. An underdeveloped town is probably littered with steaming piles of turds. Dragon crap is never fun. A shit is always a shit. But, much like real life…
If I’m going to Fuck, it better be worth it.
What about you? Are you a serial fucker or does the word make you cringe like nails on a chalkboard? Are you disappointed when it crops up in a story or does it add authenticity to a moment?