I’m a big fan of f-words. Though I try to limit the number of them, both in my books as well as in real life. F-words have power. Even if you don’t use them, you must understand the beauty of a great insult. Or a stream of f-words blurted when one stubs a toe.
I recently judged a contest, and was surprised to see the number of writers who agreed with the use of the f word. Oddly I found myself turned off by a few that didn't fit the tone or seemed over the top. Yes, me. Does that mean one shouldn’t use the f-bomb for fear of turning off a reader? Heck no.
But know that words have power.
Take said for an example. Writers use it to dialogue tag for reason. Invisibility. Use a word too much and it loses its power.
That being said, I’ve recently started writing a cozy mystery my agent requested. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Wasn’t sure I had a voice for it. Turns out the cozy fits my style quite nicely. I get to research, which I love, on top of that, my cozy is about whiskey, so I also get to drink.
I’ve found it easy enough to avoid the f-bomb, as well as a few other choice words I would normally use. Where I’m coming into trouble, and I’d love your advice, is in toning down the snark. I’m naturally snarky, and it comes through, perhaps too much, in my narratives. Though it works for my previous characters. Not this one though.
How do you keep yourself out of your words? And what’s the acceptable amount of f-bombs dropped in a novel?