On Cussing...

Cuss words. Some people use them in their every day life and some vehemently object to using them. I, like many folks from my neck of the woods, was raised against using them, and you won't hear me cuss. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I have cussed a time or two in my life when I was very upset. We're all human here; I hope. Got any aliens in the house? If you ever hear a cuss word part from my lips, run. I'm probably uncontrollably mad. For the most part, though, I don't cuss. I believe there are better ways of expressing my feelings than spouting off four-letter words everywhere. I also don't believe Christians should go around cussing, either.

That being said, I DO use cuss words in my writing. Let me tell you why.

A writer's job is to bring to life a variety of characters. Let's face it, someone's gotta be the bad guy. Even some heroes cuss. The reality is other people out there cuss, even if I don't, and I wouldn't be writing good, well-rounded characters if they didn't sometimes express themselves with a bad word or three. Could you imagine what a boring story you'd read if all the characters were goody-goody two-shoes like me? Ick! I'd throw the book in the trash. People are flawed, and I write about beautifully-flawed people.

I struggled for a long time with letting my family and close friends read my writing. It's kept many stories hidden in the cob-webby depths of my hard-drive. I thought, "hmm, they'll read this cuss word in that one scene, and I can't let that happen." It should happen, though. The characters are just that. They're characters in a story. They aren't the author.

So, if you are a part of my family or close circle of friends: yes, my characters say some bad things, but you'll love them anyway!

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