That is the Fucking Question! A blog post discussing the use of profanity in fiction writing.
I've been toiling away at a new novel that I started a few weeks ago. It's in the embryonic stages right now--my little baby. It's the first draft which means it will be a skeletal framework that I will revisit later and flesh out with things and notes and details that I've jotted down, similar to contractors finishing out a house with sheetrock and paint and roof shingles and exterior siding and shit like that. But one of the things I've been thinking about lately is the use of profanity in my work. You know? Blue language, curse words, CUSS WORDS. If you still don't get it, then I'm referring to what George Carlin famously listed as the seven dirty words. These words are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits, and any variant of these words as well as dammit, goddamn, bastard, fuck, asshole or any other word that is considered offensive to somebody. And that somebody is important here; that somebody could potentially be one of my readers.
Now, I know what you're thinking. 'That Carlin bit is from 1972. Nobody is offended by these words anymore!' Au contraire, dear blog post reader. Cuss words still offend A LOT of people. 'How can this be? I mean, I heard someone on prime-time TV say jackass just the other day.' I know, I know. The proliferation of foul language is apparently clear but it still offends a lot of people just like female nipples on TV offend people. Foul language and female nipples in print still offends people too. It's just crazy in this day and age that cuss words offend anybody. But they do. Creative types like me have to wrestle with this at one point in our careers because our audience can be shaped, expanded or restricted, by the use of these foul words. But what are we 'writers' going to do about it?