An experienced writer knows just how much dung to toss and how much to keep on his shovel or buried. Throw too much and you lose your reader. Too little and your characters suffer.
There is a very fine line when using swear words in your writing between good taste and smut. So how, as a new writer, do you recognize when you’ve exceeded the bounds? You ask yourself, “would my characters really say this or am I putting words in their mouth merely for shock value?”
If the answer is the latter, leave it out. But if your characters would rant, rave and swear, use acronyms. For instance, “that SOB better not get in my face again or the Mother dies.” You’ve made your point and your reader will appreciate your good taste. The same holds true when you are describing love scenes in your book. Most people absolutely love the thirty and forties movies which fade to black before they get to the actual love making. Why? Because their imaginations fill in the blanks.
Seeing two people go at it on the big screen is a waste of film and the viewers time. The same holds true in books. Allowing readers to fill in the blanks is perhaps the hardest thing for new writers to overcome. In their exuberance, new writers leave nothing to the imagination. They merrily write down every little detail thinking they are doing the reader a disservice if they don’t.
News flash – readers are smart and truly do appreciate an author who tosses just enough dung to land at their feet rather than smack them in the face.
So the next time you’re tempted to litter your pearls of wisdom with dung, remember to toss just enough to avoid splattering your reader and then bury the rest.
Judith Tramayne-Barth’s site is http://www.agoodread.com which has free books, articles and link pages you’ll love. She also writes excellent “how-to” books.