@&amp ^%^@$ &amp

Everyone around us there is swearing. In a conversation I overheard on Friday in the school cafeteria, this guy used f*** practically every sentence. Now, not everyone uses it that much but it is generally the cool think to swear. (Although I rarely do.)

When I created Shad, I thought some about how he would talk. Obviously, I looked at how he was raised. He was raised around suspected criminals in rough conditions and although I know that not everyone who is a criminal will have poor language, these were more minor criminals and poor language always wins out over better language.

As such, I figured it would be rather poor, with dropped words and such. And swearing probably had to play a role into it somewhere. Actually, I liked the idea that he would start out swearing a lot and end up with rarely swearing, so when he does, it’s a shock.

Problem is that I don’t really know how to swear. Honest. When I first began planning on this story, I only would do in such a way as, “Oh shoot, I forgot my computer at home.” As luck would have it (I suppose), I began working just before I wrote it, so I was around some people who swore quite a bit. I listened as to how they used it so I would know. Generally speaking, they can be adjectives or adverbs but if you want to throw them out anyway, it’s all right. THey are very versatile.

But I didn’t want to use real words. It’s one thing to hear them. If I hear them, I can deflect them. But I myself did not want to say them. So when I wrote the fist draft of Shad, everywhere that it made sense to have a swear word,  I just asterisked it out like so: ***********. I figured I could come back and make up some that sound good eventually.

After a bunch of theorizing by me, I created some swear words and began to stick them in. However, some conversations stopped me short.

First of all, someone pointed out to me that books written in the 1700s and 1800s did not have swearing in them, so why do we? I began thinking seriously about using them because, obviously, they aren’t needed. Think about it? Write a dialogue between two characters if you don’t believe me and every time you think a swear word would be good, put in asterisks or something. The story reads fine without them. They’re just stupid people’s adjectives.

Also, swear words are something that turn me off from reading a book.  Thus, I came to the conclusion that even though they would fit with his character, Shad did not need to use them.

After removing them all (Find function is the best!), I discovered some slight problems. Some places called for very strong adjectives that originally i was going to use swear words for. However, I can’t just have him get away with swearing it off with the majority of them gone. (I didn’t remove them all completely. A few were kept.) So instead, because I suspected that Shad to be very smart, I began sticking in uncommon adjectives that he would have picked up in all of his reading. So instead of calling someone a f***** idiot, he could call him a brainless nincompoop or something else like that. It actually added to his character I think because it could signal to the reader the fact that he is smart, before someone else mentions it. (I’m not sure.)

So now, I’m back to no swearing, or more correctly, very little swearing. Because even I say some things. I honestly think a more in-depth study as to the need of swear words might be interesting but I don’t know quite how to go about that.

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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