You hear people swear every day; in the office, down the street, at home, at school. So don’t forget that your characters may need to get something off their chest in your fantasy writing.
People use profanities in their everyday life. I’ve even heard the f**k word used as a verb, adjective and noun in the same sentence (quite a few times since I moved to Ireland). So don’t be afraid to lace a few choice swear words into your stories when your characters have had a nasty shock, see something bizarre or are ready to explode with fury. You can also use it to indicate a person’s character, as usually the more someone swears the rougher they may be, or, all the swearing may be a cover to hide their gentler side.
But this is fantasy, play around with it, make the swear words your own. You’ve created Gods, Kings, battles, enemies, heroes, heavens, hells and such in the alternative worlds of your stories – so let your characters swear about them, that’s what people do; “By Zhor’s hairy balls!”, “Damn you to Hades!”, “Stick that in your hedgerow!”, “I don’t give a rat’s arse!”, “Y’auld whore!”. Swearing can generate an effect that ranges from dramatic to comical. But be careful. When your characters swear, make sure that you create the intended effect in the right spot or your dramatic scene may end up sounding a bit silly. Imagine if Gone with the Wind had ended with, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a nanny goat’s knockers!”, it just wouldn’t have been the same.
I read an article a while ago about the fantasy writer, Terry Goodkind, where he explained that he refuses to include bad language in his books. Fair enough you might say, except for the fact that his books are full of so much rape, terror, carnage and torture that if he did inject a bit of of profanity it wouldn’t be the nastiest thing happening. His characters in the Sword of Truth series go through some of the most horrible experiences possible and the worst they say are “bags” and “pants”! I’m sorry but I just don’t buy that. When people are faced with dreadful decisions, terrifying consequences or just happen to step on a nail, they swear, even if it’s only a whisper. So let it out, vent it!
Take a look at the following blog article by K J Charles for some fantastic advice on swearing. She gives very sound reasoning as to why it’s definitely worth adding profanities into your fiction writing.