My friend and yours, Jack Bludis, said this:
"I don't think 'reality' necessarily lends to make a book *seem* more authentic. It may just make it less readable."
Bloody brilliant, innit?
The occasion was a discussion about profanity in books, specifically hard boiled and 'noir' books, going on over on the DorothyL list. Some writers think that if a character would use the f-word in every sentence, then they have a responsibility to faithfully record every instance of the f-word. Others feel that too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing, and argue temperance. Just because the character would do it, doesn't mean we have to write it down. Of course, the discussion digressed rapidly into name-calling, with some people stating that a talented writer would be able to write the book without the profanity, while others - likely those whose books contain the profanity - got their knickers in a twist because they felt they and their books were being disparaged.
So what do you think? As a writer, do you think it's important to faithfully write down every bad word your character uses? Can euphemisms and substitutions be just as effective, or do you find them presumptious and condescending? And, as a reader, do the use of bad words, or the lack thereof, bother you one way or the other when reading a book?
Inquiring minds want to know!
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