Four years is a long time to go without throwing down a good f***. But the isolation of working as an Internet columnist and blogger will do that to a girl who’s got to watch which words she chooses to write depending upon the venue she’s jamming in.
Today, many of the words George Carlin told us back in the day were too naughty for TV are pretty standard cyber-fare, though you won’t see ‘em here at BN’s Book Clubs. Folks who gather communities set the tone for discourse, but also are wise to heed target-viewer preference concerning basic communication.
When I opened shop online in 2006, I took the “write as you speak” ideal to the nth degree, and let loose with joyful abandon the creative uses of profanity of which I’m heartily fond. After I noticed the majority of my viewers using asterisks w/in written expletives – even when quoting my comments -- or substituting milder language, I got a loud/clear message.
Substituting a few shift+8s isn’t even close to being about choosing a battle; it’s nothing more than common courtesy. And I don’t feel I’m being strong-armed by a jerk-swarm of viewers, although for some, limiting any word choice is anathema to the free-press spirit of blogging.
Authors make the same choices regarding profanity all the time when writing romance for a broad audience. For instance, about a decade ago, a non-erotic romance depicted a very worldly hero introducing his inexperienced heroine to tantric and other sensual delights including digital anal penetration. Yet this man who was born in the gutter and raised in London’s stews didn’t utter one f-bomb or word stronger than “damn” in the novel. Readers’ preferences have taught me that many are offended by profanity, but not by depictions of graphic eroticism w/in committed relationships.
Yet today many readers also find the use of profanity makes some characters more authentic, and can be a huge turn-on in the certain scenarios. And superstar author Lori Foster knows how to create a hero whose use of rather colorful language helps readers understand better who he is and needs to become, at the same time it gives us reason to find him all the more attractive.
In Foster’s super-sexy and energetic new, “Back in Black ,” she introduces us to big, rough-talking, smart-and-successful Drew Black. He’s president of SBC, a mixed-martial-arts-fighting organization like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Drew says what’s on his mind – usually at the rate of 2-3 expletives per sentence and at least one seemingly misogynistic comment per hour. His act needs to be cleaned up, and the owners of SBC have found the sharp PR expert to do the remake.
Gillian Noode knows her business is to get in Black’s face and to let the public see the good man buried under the brash. Yet the bottom line is: Gillian finds Drew’s dirty talk hot, and her feminist self isn’t all that bothered by it.
Why aren’t many of we romance fans troubled by that setting either? First, Foster’s a marvelously talented author who gets the bad-boy-within-the-stand-up-guy fantasy, and how to relate it with the perfect balance of humor, sensuality and straight-up emotional dynamics. Second? She writes fun, always-positive erotic romances that never “take themselves too seriously,” even when dealing with real-life stuff.
Check out “Back in Black,” and the rest of the novels in Foster’s SBC series.
How do you feel about profanity in romances or other novels? Will you stay or leave a site where profanity is used w/in posts or comment areas? What does profanity in writing say to you about the author or commenter? How do you use profanity in your writing?