Tips on getting away with taboo words.

As a writer I strongly believe that ALL language should be used as fair game in literature to reflect personalities in the story. If I do curse it’s very sparingly, and it’s usually during scenes in built up tension. I firmly believe you should think of you’re writing like a chess game. Always assuming your audience is aware of what your trying to do because they might have seen it before in their adventures as a reader. Now speaking as a fan of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin also I’d consider myself a blue collar type. I think the taboo of only unintelligent people would use such filthy words is ridiculous.

“Well wait a minute, you just said all language was fair use and even emphasized it in all cap’s and highlighted it in bold. Why would you use it sparingly if it’s not bad, or unintelligent?” you might be thinking. Going back to Lenny Bruce and Carlin. They used “foul” language to emphasize a point. It wasn’t vulgarity just to be shocking. They presented the audience with grungy bar talk to pull them in. At first the audience coils back, gasping. But as they continue the audience comes to the conclusion that they’ve fallen victim to societies brainwashing and it resonates with them. Allowing themselves to laugh because they realize that these comedians were right in a way.

That of course is stand-up which plays with different rules. As a writer you want to have a fine balance, so that your not over saturating the pace of your story with language that’s already been used so much the reader becomes immune. I’ll use an example out of teen screams. The first few deaths are shocking. After the 17th blonde victim falls prey to the murder the audience becomes desensitized. Those are good garbage movies. Film critics will often say, “Understand that it’s a movie you have to shut your brain off to enjoy.” As a writer your job is essentially to paint a picture using words. While the reader is continuing along in their head, they’re picturing what they’re reading. Such is the power of our beautiful art form. So don’t disrespect it, or the reader with laziness. Building tension, capturing a characters personality using certain language through dialogue, as well as the tone of your piece. These are all good examples of appropriate times to curse if necessary. So your audience has that perfect reaction. Don’t think you they’ll gasp after being shown the same trick twice. Always remain one step ahead.

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