When the Reconstructed Man gave me the Chambers Dictionary for Christmas, it came with a free six-month subscription to Chambers Reference Online (dictionary and thesaurus). Now, while I am more than partial to a spot of page flicking, my copy of Chambers weighs 2.5kg and I don't always have it with me, so I just love this resource.
The lovely people at Chambers, obviously being modern folk, also have their own blog, Clishmaclaver, and recently, they published this post.
In it, Ian Brookes discusses the place of profanities in the dictionary and in everyday language, and the very narrow line between causing offence or not. He also touches on swearing by fictional characters, and how in some cases "...the swearing is integral to the situation and appropriate to the characters..."
Now, this is related to a problem I'd been having with my baddie. Whenever I read through his dialogue I felt it just wasn't convincing; he sounded too educated, too middle class. Now, many people don't like swearing, and I know so much of the advice on the subject warns writers away from it, but once I started introducing a few obscenities into his speech, he came across as much more plausible. I mean, a man of his calibre just wouldn't say, "Well, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on that, old chap." He'd say, "Fuck you."
Do your characters swear? Does it bother you?
ADDENDUM: And there was me thinking, 'I'm sure I'll get away with using a screen-shot of the Chambers site for my post illustration; no one from there is ever gonna visit my blog." Only took them a few hours... thanks for the tweet guys! You can follow their twittering @ChambersOnline!