Dropping the 'F' Bomb

Dropping the ‘F’ Bomb
6 August 2011

Okay, I’ll admit it. When I’m ticked off I swear like a drunken sailor. I drop the ‘F’ word like I single handedly invented it.  And it’s a great attention getter. For about the first ten seconds. But if I don’t rein it in fast, The Prince Consort’s eyes glaze over. He doesn’t approve, and overuse dilutes the impact into nothingness. Waste of effort.

I’m looking for alternatives, exercising a more extensive vocabulary. And believe me a diversity of emphatic words will keep any victim’s attention much longer than just a string of the same four letter obscenities over and over.

Example: You jerk. Jerk you. If I were the same jerkin kind of jerk, I’d jerk myself. So Jerk you.

How much of that did you pay attention to? After about the second or third jerk, you weren’t really paying attention to any point I was making, if I was. You just heard the same word over and over, and you started to drift. Bet you.

So when I critiqued a chapter for another writer who used the ‘f’ word in every single sentence at least once, in every paragraph, for several pages, I learned a lesson. Wading through the shock words, I lost her story. I couldn’t tell you what point the characters were trying to make, because all I heard in my head was the one word.

That word stole away her writing. Wake up lesson for me. I have to go back and make certain I am not using the easy words. Make sure I expend the energy and creativity to make the story mine in my own words.

And besides, it’s great practice for ‘discussing’ with The Prince Consort. He cannot be allowed to glaze over while I’m giving him the 101 reasons he SHOULD NOT have touched my hidden box of Cheezits.

So. Use creative and attention-getting vocabulary to emphasize Cheezits ownership, or over use the ‘F’ word to a bored silly TPC? Definitely dropping use of the ‘F’ bomb.



  1. Good point. But what if the character you're writing about really talks that way...

  2. Fair point. And some characters will require raw language for realism. Certainly my characters cuss. But if the author wants the reader to get something from the dialogue other than to count how many times a particular word is used, well there has to be creativity from the author to keep the realism and not lose the reader's focus.


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