To Swear Or Not To Swear….

As inevitably happens, I have once again received a one-star review, although, this time I’m rather disappointed in myself for it.

I was given one star because there is too much bad language in my book.

I can honestly say, it’s not something I even thought about when writing the story. The fact that there is some swearing in it never entered my head. Now I could kick myself for not considering it.

It leads me to ask the question…  Should we swear or not and how much is too much?

Because of this comment, I did a search on the book in question Which is my first contemporary romance, West Running Wild. It turns out my 70,000+ word book had 39 curse words in it.

Is this excessive?

Honestly, I’m not sure.

I’ll admit I can have a potty mouth on the odd occasion and when writing about tough guys who used to be in the army, I imagine them to be rough with their speech. They don’t swear in every sentence but they have their moments. I guess I believe it would be unrealistic to remove all swearing.

However, now I’m questioning my writing. As much as it’s my voice, I feel I need to be more cautious with my use of cursing for fear of offending more people.

Should I remove all swearing from my books?

Well, even if I should, I won’t. But I do think perhaps I need to be more aware of the words I use.  I feel that I got the one star for something that could easily have been avoided, so I have already scanned my current work in question for swearing.

Yes, I know, I can’t please everyone but I think I’d rather take the readers comments into account than get upset about them and hopefully they will help to improve my next book. Don’t worry though, as much as I’m being careful with my language… my characters are still no angels 😉


So tell me… Do you have swearing in your books?




8 thoughts on “To Swear Or Not To Swear….

  1. Gem, I have to say that swearing is something most people do every day. People who get offended by it just aren’t living in the real world! But I know they exist, my mum being one.

    Please don’t remove the swearing just because one person was offended. I know everyone has to self-censor in certain situations (when with kiddies or parents being two examples), but writers shouldn’t self-censor, unless they’re writing hateful material (as in containing all the -ists and -ics).

    Hope that helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for you advice. I’m definitely not removing all swearing. I guess I’m just more aware of it than I was. But certain scenes need it. for example in an upcoming book when an ex army guy who is petrified of snakes, finds one loose in his apartment. I think it’s only natural that he swears. As I said. It has just made me more conscious of my word choices.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve got swearing in most of my books (except the MG novels, obviously), and I wouldn’t dream of changing it just because some folk can’t deal with it. I recently had a 2-star review because of that very thing, even though I put a warning at the front of the book. I’d go with John Steinbeck’s POV: ‘Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t write books, but I can say that swearing doesn’t offend me unless it’s directed towards me. It’s pretty normal to read a book with swearing in my opinion. 😊
    It sounds like the person who gave you a 1 star rating is a bit of a prude.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I personally wouldn’t swear on my books. I guess it depends on context. If the swearing makes a character, then the writer would have to go along with it, right. If it’s just used to replace other words then, its not really intrinsic and creative. I don’t mind writers who swear, as long as there is a reason. A purpose. Glad you have such a balance and open mindedness towards your audience. Good Job!
    – Locke Dor

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it all comes down to the character in the book. It’s unrealistic to assume that all the characters never swear. And as you have seen I’m my other post, I like realism. It’s just about moderation and accepting that I can’t please everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

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