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Do You Need All Those $#%&@&! Words?

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I still don’t get it.

After sifting through almost a dozen Self-Published titles (which have mostly been given away for free), I have noticed something that seems to boggle my mind. Has anyone noticed the amount of profanity these authors are using in their manuscripts? If I would do a survey of a single manuscript alone, I am willing to bet that there would be at least 30-40 being used in an entire chapter.

That’s way too much!

Authors let’s be honest with each other, shall we? If you are going to add effect to a working manuscript, you are going to have to curb with the profanity, especially the sexual innuendos that are used (even with the erotica novels) because it’s not going to impress the reader, even when every $#%&@&! word is used each $#%&@&! time. I think if we were to use the ‘$#%&@&!’ symbols to represent every ‘$#%&@&!’ term that an author uses, I bet that the reader is going to get quite tired of looking at all the dirty words you use from the color wheel and that is not a compliment.

Bear in mind that profanities are just like every other adjective that is used in a normal, day to day dictionary. If you want to give effect, make less use of them and save them for when the moment really counts. I am quite sure the reader will appreciate the thought and begin to enjoy reading your novel. I remember throughout the course of my first novel, I distinctly recall using my first profanity term at least several chapters later. Although I do use profanity as part of the voice of one of my main characters, I have learned that using them sparingly will definitely lead the reader to continue onward.




  1. Ty Johnston says:

    I have to agree with this one. I use curse words in my fiction, but I try to limit it, usually no more than a few per novel, and even then I tend to not use the strongest of such words.

    It’s not that I’m a prude, but such words pop out at the reader, and more than a few uses of curse words can become annoying. Then there’s the matter of a certain segment of the reading public simply doesn’t want to see such words in their fiction.

    Sometimes it can be a fine line for a writer to walk, but even a character who curses a lot shouldn’t spout off such language in every other sentence. Heck, once a chapter would stand out in the readers mind.

    Of course there are potential exceptions, but rare they should be, and few writers who could pull it off well.

  2. I’m with you on this one. I’ve been purging my newest novel of most of its profanity so that when it is used, it has more impact. IMHO, excessive swearing quickly loses its effect and becomes more of a distraction than anything else.

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