Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Profanity in writing - R. Thomas Riley - Biggest Aha! Moments in Writing

We're going to talk a bit about profanity. Its uses in dialogue and narrative. In person, I swear quite frequently. That's all well and good, but depending on the company you find yourself in, a time and place.

In fiction, profanity can certainly be used to denote character, but in narrative, it should be used sparingly, I've come to believe. My "Biggest 'Ah-ha!' Moments in Writing" came a few years ago. Previously, I swore up a storm in my fiction, both in dialogue and in narrative. It was pointed out by readers and by editors and I came to realize that the over-excessive swearing was actually detrimental to the over all story. It lost it's punch, so to speak. I set out to intentionally write a novella without using one swear word, that novella was called Phrenetic and was published by Permuted Press back in 2010. I used one "F" word and when it's used, it packs exactly the "punch" I was going for, and is entirely appropriate and timely.

Take a look at your own fiction, whether your write or read, how profanity is used and you'll notice how some authors understand the impact, the when and where, if you will, to use those words to the desired impact.

For myself, I consciously place and utilize swear words in the narrative to achieve impact, that "punch", in dialogue, as I said a bit earlier, how your character swears, and how they express those words are extremely key to fleshing out and adding to your characters.

Try it, see how using swear words sparingly and in the exact right instances, adds depth and punches up your writing overall.

Bio: R. Thomas Riley is the author of the short story collection THE MONSTER WITHIN IDEA (2009-2011) published by Hugo Nominated Apex Publications and re-released as a Kindle exclusive in 2011 and on January 14, 2013, the collection reached the Top 100 Paid Bestseller list in the Horror category. To date, the collection has been downloaded nearly 70,000 times on Kindle.

IF GOD DOESN'T SHOW - A Gibson Blount Novel (co-written with John Grover) was published by Permuted Press and Audible.com August, 2012. THE FLESH OF FALLEN ANGELS - A Gibson Blount Novella (co-written with Roy C. Booth) was published by Grand Mal Press in February, 2012. DIAPHANOUS (co-written with Roy C. Booth) is available now on Kindle. OF FLESH AND SKIN: A DARKER EROTIC COLLECTION (co-written with Lisa McCarthy) was released March 2013. THE DAY LUFBERRY WON IT ALL was adapted to short film by Frosty Moon Omnimedia in 2010.

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