Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Swear Words

In my opinion some of the worst four letter words are ones we use every day: cook, iron, bake….

But seriously there are some swear words that have been so overused they cease to hold much meaning at all. Like 140+ uses of the F-word in the movie, “The Heat”.

I am not suggesting the author swallow a thesaurus and busily add every polysyllabic adjective from A to Z to the book. But there should be a blend of the kind of word even a hero might utter when the villain drops a large rock on his head, and what he might say to the heroine about the spooky trees in the forest they’re driving through. A balance between descriptive, well-thought out language, and the kind of dirty, sexy talk a couple might use in the bedroom together.

There also needs to be a balance between what a hero who heads a construction crew might use, and what the billionaire CEO of a company might say. The words they use, the way they express themselves, are just as much a part of their character as their sparkling silver eyes. And sometimes bad language can actually be exciting and good. But don’t be misled into thinking there needs to be a swear word in every paragraph. Each word needs to be relevant and important in its own right. Always use the most appropriate word whether that is an expletive or a kinder adjective.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


anny cook said...


Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Hey, your comment showed up this time. Good work!