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To Swear or Not To Swear

Posted by mcm0704 on September 27, 2008 |

It’s not easy to decide how much colorful language to include in a book without it seeming gratutitious, and I always deferred to the characters and the story to decide. Some characters are more prone to swearing than others. But over at http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/ there is a discussion today about using swear words and it started me thinking about something I realized last night.

My husband and I went to a production of On Golden Pond at a community theatre here in East Texas. The director addressed the language issue before the show, noting that the original play has a fair amount of cursing. In an effort to be sensitive to this very conservative, very religious area, the director opted to take out much of the cursing. But he did leave in some words where, as he put it, “the story would have lacked something to take them out.”

For the most part, you could not tell where the words had been removed, but in the few places where they were allowed, it really heightened the drama because they were in places where people very often to swear at each other. I thought the director did a great job of selecting what to cut and what to leave in.

Reflecting on that, I realized that I could be a little more selective as I get back to my work in progress. The central character is just going to have to get used to “Mommy” telling her she can no longer swear like a truck driver. 🙂

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