Swearing in Fiction

Swearing in fiction has always been a subject of contention. You either hate swearing or you ignore. it. When  I read books with swearing I usually just ignore. Why? Well frankly I’ve heard worse.

When I write I tend to avoid swearing as much as possible, because it doesn’t work with all stories. When I write Fantasy, I sometimes use swearing. (Mainly H**, D***, and B*****d.) only if it is the only word I can use. I try to avoid made up slang in Fantasy mainly because it sounds stupid (Holy Bikini Batman!, e.t.c). With my novel, I realized I want my fellow Christian friends to enjoy my book as much as my Non-Christian friends.

So today, I axed all the swear words. (The only bad word is “Bollocks” which nowadays is not bad.)

But don’t worry. I won’t get rid of Magic. And I won’t get rid of violence…If you still reading and haven’t fainted then good. I will explain why these items are still in the book.

Magic is more for me a word of things that happen you can’t explain. Like special powers. (Back in the old days, even Science was called Magic. The Three Magi would be called Scientists nowadays.) The kind of ‘magic” that is evil is Sorcery and Necromancy. Sorcery in my novel is Magic used for selfish need rather than Good. Necromancy is evil because Necromancers raise the dead, summon Demons, and feed on blood. There is a difference.

Violence is still in because of one reason…It’s in the Bible. Before you call me a heretic read the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, and tons of other books. Battle is not clean. It’s bloody. It’s graphic. It’s intense. It’s no fun.

As for sex there is none. Don’t worry.

What do you think of swearing in books?

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Jake Scholl is a Fantasy Writer and blogger residing in Boise, ID. Jake is a big fan of books, comics, heavy metal, movies, and video games. You can buy his novel "Blade of the Broken" wherever ebooks are sold.

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3 comments on “Swearing in Fiction
  1. I think swearing in-story can be done tastefully, but you bring up a good point that some audiences aren’t going to appreciate cursing, regardless of how minimal or well-written it might be.

    I also have to touch on your comments on magic. The general public often associates magic with characters like Harry Potter–or having “super powers” and this is not the case. There are a good number of people and faiths in the world that believe legitimately in magic. When spelled magick, it refers to the practice of manipulating the natural elements of the environment to achieve an end. No matter what label you put on it, magic is only as good or bad as the person wielding it.

    • jakeescholl says:

      Good points! 🙂 . In Fantasy fiction, not many authors swear. The ones that swear, like Joe Ambercrombie, the swearing works in the books mainly because the world he created is rough and unforgiving which may reflect on how he was raised. When I start to write, I don’t think of making the book Christian. If the story had morals, it should be organic rather than forceful.

  2. Ria says:

    I think if a character warrants swearing then you should allow it just for the sake of credibility. I mean a street urchin wouldn’t be speaking like sophisticated boys his age. He would speak in slangs and broken english at most. So if the character essence requires swearing then I don’t think readers would have too much problem with it. After all everyone has heard every damn swear at least once in their life.

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