Before we continue there are various things to consider such as the audience and genre. If you were to write a book aimed at young children, swearing would be considered completely inappropriate yet if you were writing an adult thriller it would be less of an issue.
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While the decision to include swearing or not is down to each individual writer, I do have some key points which I think it is important to consider.
- Firstly, swearing can be used to build tension in a situation if the swearing first emerges during a heated argument or during a major event in your story or screenplay. Alternatively, the lack of swearing at a particular point can make a scene stand out and create a solemn tone.
- Swearing can also break the tension. If you build the tension and tension higher and higher by adding a swear at the end of the scene can help to add comic relief. The shock of the swear can change the tone, allowing the reader to relax slightly and be more susceptible to the changing moods of the plot.
- Using expletives can help to illustrate a character's personality. If the character is particularly aggressive or bad tempered they are a likely to swear a lot more than someone who is quiet and reserved.
- It is also important to note that if you have constant swearing throughout your storyline it can make it more difficult to show sharp emotions. For example, if your sentences throughout are made up of "You ****, who do you ******* think you are?" Your audience is less likely to notice when your character is feeling a particularly strong emotion.
It's all about finding the balance. It is important to find the meeting point between making the plot realistic and yet not distracting from the story.
What's your take on it? Let me know in the comments!