Enough To Make An Author Swear!



Want a great scholarly discussion on the merits of spelled-out swearing? Check out this vintage University of Pennsylvania website!

Want a great scholarly discussion on the merits of spelled-out swearing? I was amazed at The Language Log, an academic look at profanity, from the University of Pennsylvania.



My wife Diana Star Helmer (of Elsie’s Afghan fame) will have a new young adult novel in the coming year!

She experienced a situation with her work-in-progress other authors could face.

A couple of her characters stray to cussing. The occasional profanity appears.

Well, Diana wanted to let the reader choose their own favorite cuss words. She considered going the comic strip route:


The first author friend (a gritty realist) who got an early look at the manuscript balked. Essentially, she said, “Spell it out or take it out.”

A second author pal of ours offered a even-more-convincing vote for profanity.

She’s been using the text-to-speech conversion on her Kindle. The problem? All those symbols can’t be pronounced!

I watched David Ortiz accept his MVP Award after the World Series Wednesday. He parodied himself. Instead of repeating his emotional, “This is our f—ing city…” after the April bombing in Boston, Ortiz substituted, “This is our BLEEPING city.”

Authors don’t get that advantage. We need to spell it out somehow.


Speaking of swearing…

I left out that great 2006 website from the University of Pennsylvania comparing Mother Goose & Grimm to commentary from Mad Magazine: all about cursing characters!


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