Saturday, 24 August 2013

Profanity (and why I use it)

Some foul language ahead. But go on and read it, you little shit, I know you love swearing...

Okay, let's face it. I swear one hell of a fucking lot. Whatever you see me do here in terms of swearing is incredibly moderated - a lot of the time (but definitely not ALL the time, I swear (oh, look, a wild pun appears), I'm dignified and adult most of the time) I take a sentence that sounds like this:

"Fuck, man! I am so fucking happy you're reading my story! This shit's not easy to write, it takes a lot of fucking encouragement to get one of those bitchy little motherfuckers out each week!"

And turn it into this:

"Aww, thanks, sweetie! I'm thrilled you're reading my story! It's been difficult to write, and it takes a lot of encouragement to get a new chapter out each week!"

So yeah, I swear like the lovechild of a trucker and a sailor raised by very cussy wolves. And it's not always classy swearing - I make up some really lovely and sort of incomprehensible strings of cusswords when I'm not even angry. I also rely on the word "fuck" as an integral noun, adjective, verb, adverb, and I think I've even used it as a conjunction at some point. The word "motherfucker" is my personal favourite to describe anything I feel strongly about, and the phrase "you little shit" has escaped me at children's birthday parties in the past...

But before I go on, I don't want you to think I'm completely foul-mouthed. You see, I have two swearing settings. Motherfucking on, and politely off. There is no in between. No period where I say "heck" and "darn". Nope. But I can go from saying "ow" when I stub my toe to calling the piece of furniture responsible a motherfucking whore son of a shitting asshole (or a similarly colourful phrase) in a femtosecond. I enjoy swearing just as much as I enjoy not doing it at all.

So a lot of the time, I use the Queen's own fucking English, fit for Ascot. I speak like the most elegant of ladies. But some of the time, usually when I'm alone, my vocabulary is enough to make a sailor blush (oh look, two My Fair Lady references in so many sentences...).

As a result, my writing is riddled with swear words. You should all see my early drafts of Inamorata if you think the language is bad now - the f word is one of the most commonly occurring words in those early writings, before I cleaned up some of the violence and swearing to try to make it a bit more gentle. Nightingale swears less than I do, and she's not exactly soft spoken when it comes to four letter words.

But that's not the only reason why. There are three others:

1) The boring reason is that it's because it's more realistic. No one avoids the f word in real life, no one in a bad situation like the Inamoratas'. As a matter of fact, you're lucky I didn't drop the c bomb in there a few times, just to add a bit more kick. So they all swear and the narrator swears to make it more realistic.

2) It's a stylistic choice. By using profanity, the reader gets a certain sense of what to expect. This isn't for children, it's certainly a story that I hope is adult enough that it doesn't shy away from swearing. Also, it's pretty dark - light things can contain swearing, but it's usually not quite so pronounced nor so vicious.

3) The final reason is that it's just plain FUN. There's some sort of weird satisfaction out of writing "fuck" out a whole bunch of times. I mean, you know your mother would probably be horrified if she read a sentence in which you use more swear words than is grammatically correct.

So, yeah. That's my piece on swearing. Now have a pleasant fucking day, you little shits.