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Last week,  I made some comments about cursing and swearing and one of my points was that I have sworn very little in my life.


But one place that I still want to (very rarely) use obscenities is when I’m writing words for characters in some of my stories. Take for example this passage, from my Job story, where a demon gets frustrated that the friends are just sitting with him, not talking.


And now these friends! They had been with him a week and what was their choice of activity? Did they try to comfort him with wrong minded and empty comforts and advice (which might have brought thoughts of sinful bitterness to the Honorable man’s mind.)


No, (Satan take them) they chose the least helpful way – they had just sat silent near the Honorable man. For nearly seven days now the watching demons had whispered, grumbling. Where was these men’s selfishness? Didn’t they have more important things to do? Leave him in his suffering! Or at least say something! Something angry, judgmental or proud sounding!


But no, they just sat. Satan curse them!


It seemed to me, as I wrote this, that if there was ever a character who would swear, it’s a demon who is losing a soul. Certainly demons are more obscenely minded than known-for-swearing sailors.


I actually thought the f-word would be an appropriate replacement for the last three words – ‘Satan curse them!’. I still think it would have been somewhat appropriate and slight humorous (at the demon’s expense). But I chickened out. I just can’t do it.


Now I must admit that I am thoroughly bugged by writers who put in lots of swearing, to make it seem more authentic. But surely one bad word in a story wouldn’t have been that bad, and might have caught the eye of many readers.


I take some consolation in my lack of boldness in that Vox Day (who, as I have said, swears more than rarely) includes no obscenities in his fiction.


What do you think?

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April 2009