I swear, you swear, we all swear…Right?


I’ve been editing two manuscripts this week and I’ve noticed in both, my hero likes to swear. A lot. Which got me wondering—How much is too much? I happen to have a bit of a potty mouth and I often think in swear words, which is why so many of them get said. Yes. It’s a problem. But a minor one, I think.

When I’m writing, I try to get into the mindset of my characters and though I can usually be heard dropping an expletive on just about any occasion, most of my characters don’t. I like to think that it’s because I am actually, you know, creating them to have their own personality and voice. However, my two current heroes are both former military, older, bachelors and are clashing with women they can’t resist and it’s playing with their heads. And causing many an f-bomb to be thrown.

I’ve been trying to edit some of the cursing out, but it sounds wrong for these men to not curse aloud or think it when frustrated. I will never have my manly men say, Oh Shoot or Darn it. I can’t imagine NOT thinking F$%^ this, or well SH$# that… Before that scares you off from ever wanting to talk to me in real life—I do know how to shut the F&^% up in polite company. ;)

So, dear readers and writers—Does cursing turn you off from a character and/or pull you out of the story? Are there words that you skim without thinking and others that jump out and smack you on the forehead?

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About Kimberly Quinton
Whether she’s writing paranormal romance or straight contemporaries, Kimberly Quinton is a romantic at heart who strives to tell stories about the discovery of true love. Since childhood she’s loved romances and believes we can all live our happily-ever-after. Always a people watcher, it wasn’t until Kimberly shucked her Accounting major for Anthropology that her interest in people and cultures was nurtured. Kimberly has combined her studies and natural curiosity with her love of romance for the sake of bringing multi-dimensional and interesting stories to life. A wife and mother of two, Kimberly spends her days chasing chores, wrangling active kids, and writing. She also enjoys traveling, cooking, great wine and sharing a laugh with friends and family. Kim is a member of Romance Writers of America and North Texas Romance Writers of America.


  1. Susan says:

    I personally like my heroes to have good manners. I don’t mind reading that the hero is thinking in curse works, but it offends me when they use that language to someone they respect.
    I am totally turned off by the frequent and injudicious use of the F-word in books and movies. It just makes me think that the writer took the easy way out and didn’t work hard enough to find more clever words. Anyone can use the F-work as a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb by the time they are in 4th grade. So I like it when my favorite authors step it up a notch and give me something more interesting.


    Kimberly Quinton Reply:

    Uh Oh! I’ll be prepared for you to be offended by my next book! Though I can’t compare it to movies and my heroes aren’t sprinkling curse confetti on every statement. :) 90% are thought.


  2. Talia Hunter says:

    Personally I don’t mind at all when people swear in books. Probably because I’ve got such a potty mouth myself!


  3. kym says:

    I have never met an alpha male that didn’t cuss. That being said, there is a time and a place, the emotion has to be high. I’ve known cops who got suspended for dropping an F-bomb. Which is almost as ignorant as the word itself ;) But it’s literally a physical release, and I’d rather have bad language than inappropriate violence. The key for me is the use of the word. It should never be directed AT someone, just the universe and all it’s messed up karma. That being said, my dad always told me, “People who cuss have a low vocabulary.” Unfortunately, my knowledge isn’t half as vast as his was. ;)


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