Tuesday, September 27, 2011

F-Bombs Away!


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?


  1. Fuck is my favorite word! I love it in all it's glorious forms. In fact, typically if it is even used in a song, it typically enhances my enjoyment of the song. I gravitate towards the taboo because I want to embrace the power of those words...I don't want the words to have power over me.

  2. I don't mind a well placed fuck, but it shouldn't become a habit or it loses its intensity.

  3. I use it and abuse it IRL, but there's a switch. I can turn off the sailor-like swearing for work or lunches with granny. But at home with the hubs... f-bombs away, captain!

    I think I used it once in the WIP. It was really the most appropriate word for the occasion. Sometimes, it just is...and I'm not afraid to use it when the story calls for it.

  4. Heather, isn't the power of "taboo terms" amazing? The reactions are so unpredictable from person to person. BTW, Puddle of Mudd's "She Fuckin' Hates Me" just jumped into my head. Thanks for the earworm! (I learnt my lesson and so did she!)

    Sullivan, yes and absolutely -- to all the various ways that sentence can be interpreted.

    Laura, woe be to me should that switch not flip when the #weeniece is around. Nothing quite like "awwwww, you said a bad woooooord" to make me realize just how often it happens in spite of my best intentions.

  5. Carefully selected usage for me. I use "freaking" a fair amount, to satisfy myself without offending others. But I know what I mean. :D

  6. I love fuck. I love that it is practically it's own whole sentence.
    That fuckity-fuckin fuck face better fuckin stop fuckin off.
    The only other word that comes to mind that is used like that is smurf.
    That smurfity smurfin smurf-face better smurfin stop smurfin off.

  7. This word can definitely add impact to a certain scene or if you're trying to convey a certain feeling.
    I think if you use it too often though it does lose the desired effect.

  8. Just an interesting note: when I was working on my English degree, my Anglo Saxon professor, a very kind and mild mannered elderly gentleman, had a paper on his office door with the conjugations of the Anglo Saxon form of Fuck. It's been with us a good long while, for good reason.

  9. Fuck, like any other word, has it's place and using it should always flow. The only time I object to it is when you can feel the speaker or the author is dropping the bomb for effect.

    Great post, KAK.

  10. Aw, Jeffe, keepin' it PG with "freakin." I do tend to type "frakkin" in IM because I'm a nerdlinger like that.

    Smurf it, Linda, you smurfity smurf Smurf!

    Jennifer, You're absolutely right. One of the best written uses of "Fuck" was after a scene of "ZOMG are the gonna make it" when the characters think they have escaped the Big Bad then ~blam~ Fuck was the last word in the chapter. Damn Skippy I turned that page tootsweet.

    Kerry, that's awesome! We had the drunken debate of conjugating "shit." What exactly is the past perfect tense of "to shit?"

    B.E., Yes! It's like farting in public. If it's an SBD then it works well. If the user has to draw attention to it ... well, that's an automatic booting back to the 4th grade.