"Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances,
profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer."
- Mark Twain, a Biography
D for ...
Mark Twain with Helen Keller
My meeting with the charming, brave Helen Keller dampened my proclivity to swearing afterwards.
The Creator knows that if anyone had cause for a choice word or phrase, it was that intelligent, kind lady.
Now, my Huckleberry Finn struck a chord with folks, even feisty Hemingway ...
because I used a sprinkling of cussing and colloquialisms.
Stiff-necked Purists may scoff at the idea of using everyday language in literature,
but there is a sense of realism that slang and colloquial terms impart.
If you want your novels to seem real, the folks in them must speak like real people.
And real people when they smash a thumb with a wayward hammer, do not smile and go,
Profanity is like spice in a meal ...
too much blunts the flavor, too little makes the whole experience bland.
HOW TO HANDLE PROFANITY
1.) KNOW WHERE TO PLACE THE DYNAMITE.
Never in the body of your novel -- only in dialogue.
2.) QUEEN VICTORIA IS DEAD
Dean Koontz was so embarassed about writing of the sex act in THE WATCHERS
that reading his distanced prose took me clean out of the story.
So unless your character is a priest, do not put copulate, consummate, or fornicate in his mouth.
3.) FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
It will be for you, or at least your sales,
if you chase away readers in this thin-skinned Politically Correct society.
Damnation, they would probably tar and feather me today. Lord knows, they try to ban my books!
Well, children, I hope this helps, damn it!!