Why the Potty Mouths?

Every now and then I get a reviewer who comments or complains about the profanity in my books. And there may even be others who comment on those reviews with appreciation to know because they don’t want a book with cuss words, especially the f-bomb. Well…so what. My books aren’t for everyone and I’m okay with that. *shrugs*

But I’ve also had a handful of readers ask me how my particular characters can cuss so much considering their background with angels. They’ve said it’s not just my books, but others with angels, too. Now this is a good question…or discussion. I can only speak for my characters, though.

First, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that Alexis doesn’t cuss all that much in Promise except when she’s really pissed off. Tristan’s the only one who drops the f-bomb and he doesn’t exactly have an angelic background. Sophia – the closest, so far, to the angels – doesn’t cuss and admonishes Alexis whenever she lets one fly. Owen, Amadis his entire life, hasn’t blurted out anything…yet anyway. So, really, it’s just Alexis and Tristan (of the good guys, anyway) and even then it’s not much.

Until you get to Purpose. In early drafts, nearly every other word out of Alexis’s mouth was a cuss word and she particularly liked to drop the f-bomb. She’s going through an emotional (and mental and physical) storm in this book, she’s been through hell and she doesn’t really care what anyone thinks of her potty mouth. She’s in the habit, too, so even as things improve, she doesn’t censor her words. Once again, though, if you pay attention, you’ll notice a definite drop-off as soon as…well, something very good happens.

Still, even in Devotion, after she’s changed over and living on the angels’ island, she has a bit of a problem here. But I’m okay with that. Honestly, I think it makes her (and Tristan) more real. After all, neither of them are truly angelic. Yes, there’s angel blood in their background, but there’s also Daemonic blood. And honestly…how alike are you to your ancestors of over 2,000 years ago? The Amadis may serve the angels, but they are not angels themselves. They have quite a bit of HUMAN in them.

And that’s kind of the point of the books. One of the major themes of the entire series is that you don’t have to be perfect to be on the good side. So why would I make my main characters perfect?

I’m sorry if the profanity offends some readers. I’m sorry they can’t see beyond that for the people the characters really are. I’m sorry because if they judge characters and books based on profanity, I can only imagine how they judge real people in their lives. Because nobody’s perfect. And even those closest to being perfect admit to getting a certain satisfaction that only the word “fuck” can provide.

Yes, I enjoy that satisfaction myself on occasion. Nearly every day. Go ahead and judge me. It’s not your judgment I’m worried about.

Are you offended by profanity in books? If you know a book contains profanity, even just once or twice in 90,000 words, will you refuse to read it? Other thoughts? Have a favorite cuss word you’d like to share? Go ahead. It’s Monday – a reason in itself to let one fly.

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10 Responses to Why the Potty Mouths?

  1. Amanda W. says:

    I like it. I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t cuss. I do all the time. Interestingly though I am 33 and have only recently started cussing in front of my mother. Old habits. My favorite is “fucking mother fucker” which usually comes when I am startled in some way or I hurt myself.

  2. Lisa Adams says:

    If you are in the construction industry, which I have been for years!, it is natural to curse and I find that a book without any at all seems fake. Everyone does it and you really ought to have your characters seem real as possible.

  3. Jessica Bell says:

    Fuck no! lolol. You should see the amount of it in my work 🙂 But it’s there for a reason and I’m sure it is in yours too. No problem if people don’t like it. If it’s not for them, then they don’t have to read it, right? :o)

  4. Aravis says:

    I don’t have a problem with profanity in the books I read. I think it’s a matter of why or how it is done. I agree that most people swear at least once in awhile. I’m like Amanda… certain circumstances just call for it. It’s almost involuntary.

    There are the occasional characters for whom swearing wouldn’t be natural. If they did it, it would take me – the reader – out of the story. This is very, very rare however. Far more often it’s when a character *doesn’t* swear that is jarring. For example, when you find out your bf has been cheating on you, you don’t march up to him and tell him he’s a big jerk. At best he’s an asshole. Me? I’d throw “fucking” in front of that. Anything less, especially from an otherwise tough-talking female character, doesn’t work. It takes me out of the story, if only briefly. When I snort I should be doing it *with* the characters, not *at* them.

    I’ve never felt that you’ve used profanity gratuitously in any of your books. When you write it, it is organic to that character. If some of the readers don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. Personally, though, I think they’re really missing out on some great stories!

  5. Heather says:

    I’m tough to offend. To be honest, I never even noticed there was cussing in your books. They’re for adults so I expect a little adult material in them, in all it’s forms.

  6. Loralie Hall says:

    Cursing for the sake of cursing…no. But I know people who let the profanity fly every other word, not because they’re profain, but because that’s their dialect.

    If it’s appropriate to the character and/or situation, it’s worse to censor it. Language doesn’t keep me from reading.

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  8. Hi, Kristie–I just avoid books that have swearing, because, you’re right, they aren’t my type. As for people that would swear around me, I just don’t hang out with them.

    Yeah, I know, call me a prude or whatever, I won’t complain about your stuff, though, because that’s what you feel is right for your books just as what I write is right for mine. 😉

  9. dstone says:

    I thought the profanity was fine and I caught that it incresed or decreased with thebaituation. I could be a bit biased as a single mom of an energetic little boy who walked beforenhe talked I said “oh shit…”before nealy every sentence relating to where my baby was and what he was getting into. To my mortification, while at my parents visiting my son spoke his first words as he wobbled across his grandparents living room. “Ohh shit oh shit” it was clear as a bell and sing song. My dad looked at me and using my full name informed me that I need to watch my mouth.
    I still cuss but my son who is 14 now doesn’t, at least not in front of adults. 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just read both Promise and Purpose over the last two days. LOVED them! I didn’t mind the cuss words. They were used to show range of emotion. I felt the difference in Alexis and Tristain when they said a cuss word. It showed passion and imperfection of the characters. It felt real. Don’t change a thing in your writing! I devour books but have a hard time finding authors I really like. I love your books–keep ’em coming!!

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