Every Last Word Counts #IWSG #Amwriting

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

A quote about speaking from your heart


Speaking my heart was never easy. Finding the right words in the right way was never something I could do well when it mattered, especially under fire. And when someone uses “swear” words in an argument with me, I freeze. It’s no different when I read them. They simply hang in the air around me, raw and glaring, like bright, broken neon signs you pass on the road.

So what do “swear words” have to do with writing? For me, a lot.

 This month’s IWSG question asks , “In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?”

I draw the line in anything I’m not interested in writing about, or reading, which in my case is “swear words.” Mild ones don’t seem to matter so much, or if I’ve spent time getting to know the characters in a book, which might occasionally drop one, but never on the first page. If I see one on the first page, I might shiver. I might lose the image of the entire scene unable to get past them.

How about you? Where do you draw the line when you write or read?

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on October 6, 2021, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Sounds like you find more creative ways to express yourself than by using swear words!

  2. I draw that line in my own writing and in what DLP publishes. Nothing R-rated, period.

  3. Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    I agree about the swear words on page one 🙂

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day as co-host The IWSG Goodreads Book Club

  4. Well said. Me too though I might be a bit more forgiving. Where I turn pages with my eyes closed is sex scenes. Nope not interested.

  5. I only use very mild words and I don’t believe I’ve ever dumped one on the first page.

  6. I write MG and YA so have to be careful with the words I use. I’m okay with using swear words sparingly in a YA manuscript.

  7. It’s definitely a bad sign if they’re on the first page… although I might forgive a mild one as the first word followed by “as the cat piddled right in the middle of her newly pressed laundry.” But I’d wonder who many more were coming!
    Thanks for visiting me 🙂

  8. I have to admit that occasionally some of my characters do swear. Some don’t. It is all about who they are. A young, sheltered noblewoman would never swear. A mercenary soldier might. But in any case, I don’t pepper my writing with swear words. In most cases, the swear words just denote a helpless writer. He doesn’t know how else to show his characters’ feelings so he uses obscenities as a way of their self-expression. That’s what many people do in real life. They express emotions, both negative and positive, through dirty words.

  9. I have a hard time with any violence toward women or children. They can be used as prey for shallow storylines. I do more than lose interest, I suggest all readers pass on the work. Why anyone would visit that world is beyond me.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  10. If cuss words don’t add anything to the story or writing, then leave them out. I prefer using slang in my writing instead.

  11. I’ve grown immune to some profanity, but even so, I find excessive use of it tiring. Swear words dropped on the first page is definitely a warning sign for the rest of the book.

  12. I thoroughly agree, especially with the swear words on the first page. It comes off as cheap shock tactics!

  13. I allowed my daughters free reign of the library when we visited weekly (we homeschooled so the library was our resource and one of many ways to connect with other homeschoolers), and one day my younger daughter brought home a book she told me later was awful – what she meant – it had swear words on every page. She wanted to read the story, but she couldn’t finish the book. I was glad she made the choice and I didn’t make it for her.
    I think our ‘ear’ for swear words in reading is tuned by what we’re used to hearing. I heard swearing a lot as a kid, so my ear isn’t as sensitive. But still, I don’t want to read a lot of it. And I do my best to filter it out of my language now that I don’t live in a “swearing household.”

  14. I don’t use profanity, but my characters do. That’s a lie. I have a potty mouth. I blame it on my mother. But I thoroughly respect those who can refrain. Cursing is so much easier than not doing it.

  15. Adrienne Reiter

    I don’t mind swear words depending on the context. I write/read noir mystery most of the time. I can’t abide by swearing when it’s obvious the author is just being lazy. A racy double entendre a la Mae West could have done the trick. Thank you for co-hosting!

  16. I have rarely encountered swear words on the first page of a book but if I did I might also lose interest. Although, swearing does tell you a lot about a character doesn’t it?

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