Tuesday, December 14, 2010

About The F-Bomb

If the number of comments is any indication; the most controversial topic in writing is the use of the F-bomb. On a blog I follow, one of the writers brought up that topic and there were several times the comments they usually get. Though I don’t think we can completely divorce the word from the pornographic connotations, I think the reason many writers feel comfortable using it is because much of its usage in common language is to express frustration upon the realization that something isn’t going the way one might hope.

I choose not to use the F-bomb and a number of other offensive words in my writing. Some authors have the idea that we use it because it adds realism to our dialog. Personally, I think that’s utter nonsense. The author who writes truly realistic dialog writes boring dialog. Compare reading trial transcripts with reading a novel about a trial and you’ll see that they are far different. One is completely realistic while the other communicates the information and a way that is easy to read.

I think that the reason some authors are so adamant that the F-bomb should be used is that they use it themselves and they don’t like feeling guilty about it. I was talking to a co-worker the other day and he said something about a couple of different types of beer. I told him that since I don’t drink I wouldn’t know anything about it. While I think everyone would be better off if they wouldn’t drink, I don’t go around making an issue out of it and yet my colleague told me that he felt compelled to tell me that he doesn’t drink a lot. I wasn’t trying to make him feel guilty, he did that to himself. I believe the same is true of authors. They don’t like hearing that it is possible to write without the F-bomb because it makes them feel guilty when they use it.

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