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October 18, 2012 / diannegray

Colourful language

My mother is the only person on this earth I have to answer to if a character in one my books swears. She’s 82 years old and has a tongue as sharp and damaging as a machete – but she never swears. The worst words to come from her lips in a moment of rage are, ‘For Pete’s Sake!’

In fact, I only ever hear these words after she’s read my latest WiP. It usually happens in the food court on a Sunday morning where we meet for brunch after she’s done with the ‘church thing’.

‘For Pete’s sake, Dianne! Why did you have to use the ‘F’ word in that novel? You know I hate the ‘F’ word! What am I going to tell the ladies at church and croquet?’

‘Tell them I use colourful language,’ I say. ‘They’re never going to pick up a book about demons anyway.’

It’s not that my work is spattered with the ‘F’ word. For Pete’s sake, I only use it once or twice in a novel (and now I’m worried I’m beginning to sound like her).

If a character is angry or tough and it’s part of their speech pattern – they need to swear occasionally.  It’s part of life. I hear it every day. People say it at work and on the television – and I heard a policeman say it the other day when he tripped on the gutter and cracked his nose on the road at my feet. I didn’t say, ‘For Pete’s sake! Why did you have to swear?’ I said, ‘Are you okay? Here’s a tissue to stop the blood flow.’

There has to be a reason for a character to swear in a novel. It’s not gratuitous and not every second word the character says has to be is a profanity (unlike some people I see on the street). Granted, if I wrote a story about some of the kids who hang around my neighbourhood, my mother would probably spend a lot more time in church.

We’ll be sitting at brunch and my mother will look to the ceiling of the food court as if it holds the answers to everything and she’ll ask ‘Why did they ever invent the ‘F’ word?’

I don’t answer because I know she’s not talking to me.

I say, ‘I’m having a cappuccino and eggs benedict.’

‘It’s such an ugly word,’ she says.

‘Do you want a latte?’

‘Why did they invent it?’

‘The Latte?’

‘No, the ‘F’ word, for Pete’s sake!’

I then go into a spiel about the olden days where a couple had to have the consent of the King of England to have children so they would place a sign on their door that read ‘Fornicating Under Consent of King’ – a bit like a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on a motel door. I know this is only an urban legend, but I say it to make her happy because she a royalist.

The conversation then turns to Queen of England and the ‘F’ word is not mentioned again – until the next week when we sit down to brunch.

Do you think twice about using that word in your work? Do you have a family member that acts as a ‘censor’ to your work?

To participate, or see other entries in the Weekly Writing Challenge (a splash of colour) click here 


Leave a Comment
  1. annotating60 / Oct 18 2012 7:20 am

    I never have occasion to use it on my poetry, and frankly it never does anything for me to see it in print. I guess if you have to think about it at all it’s best not to use it. I like to think of it as a sacred word–a work that has some power behind it when used. If used too often it doesn’t mean shit. Now shit is a word I would use–it sort of rolls off the tongue. Yes, I think I will keep that other word ‘Fuck’ sacred for as long as I can. KB


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 7:29 am

      I have rarely seen it in poetry – but if it’s needed, it needed. I usually only use it when there is a crisis and my character has it in them to say it, otherwise I leave it out (or my mother gets very shirty with me) 😉


  2. Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Oct 18 2012 7:22 am

    Dianne! I absolutely Adore this post…the point you make and the dialogue between you and your mother is priceless, absolutely priceless! I have never heard the F word urban legend and love that I am now enlightened! I am not a writer [of books] and I don’t have family members who censor what I say on my blog, and I agree, with you, if it is part of a character, then they must speak their truth, F bombs and all. I must read one of your books… where should I start?? 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 7:39 am

      Thanks, Bonnie! ‘The Everything Theory’ is a good place to start. Unless you like demons and then there is ‘Soul’s Child’ (that one won the YWO Book of the year award). Wolf Pear is my daughter’s favourite (about a psychic detective), or if you’re into sweeping Australian country novels, ‘Let Sleeping Gods Lie’ is also a good one. I have some links at the bottom of previous posts that take you to WP bloggers who have critiqued them.

      Anyway, enough about me…

      My mother is an absolute classic – a very strong woman and very opinionated. She loves the Queen and anything to do with the upper class and she is very much like Hyacinth Bucket on ‘Keeping up Appearances’ (if you’ve ever seen it, you’ll know exactly what I mean) 😀


      • Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Oct 18 2012 7:56 am

        The Psychic Detective sounds fun…I will start there! Can I just order right from your blog site…or do you need to send me a link to where I can buy it?

        Your mother sounds wonderful, and such a strong, wonderful image you paint of her 🙂


      • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:16 am

        If you just click on the picture at the right side of my post it should take you to the page on Amazon. If you have any problems let me know 🙂


      • Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Oct 18 2012 9:21 am



  3. John / Oct 18 2012 7:28 am

    LOL, love the queen. She looks positively shocked. It is difficult to balance respecting your mother with what you believe you need to do in your profession. Glad you do what is best for you. Reminds me of my mother, you never, ever say bad words around her. But, if she occasionally lets one rip, you politely ignore it. Ahh yes, the English language is a beautiful thing… 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 7:40 am

      Mothers are wonderful like that! They make sure you stay on the straight and narrow and it’s all about appearance 😉


  4. Anna Scott Graham / Oct 18 2012 7:29 am

    Oh goodness this is a delightful post! Love that picture of the Queen…

    I don’t swear, unless one of my sports teams does something very stupid. However, I write some fairly salt of the earth characters. If there was no blue language, the dialogue wouldn’t be indicative of the cast, so what’s a writer to do?

    Not all my books are of that sort, but in the ones that are, I am not shy about dropping whatever bombs necessary. And when I’m uncertain, I’ll ask a crit partner to tell me if the language overwhelms the story. So far, that hasn’t been an issue.

    Bless your mum! She has a point. There isn’t any real need for such nonsense, but the genie’s out of the bottle. Too late to cork it up now. 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 7:45 am

      It is a really fine balance, Anna. I think if you’ve got a tough character and they’re in a tough situation and they say, ‘golly gosh, get away from me,’ it just doesn’t wash – it changes the entire visual of the character (if you know what I mean).

      I think the only time I ever swear is when I’m watching my favourite sports team as well – but I try not to because it scares my dogs 😀


  5. Maddie Cochere / Oct 18 2012 7:36 am

    Hahaha! I love this post! I considered colorful language but decided not to go in that direction. So glad you did! Hoary was the best I could come up. 🙂 Your conversations with your mother are priceless. My mother is 83 and cut from the same cloth, and yes, I don’t go much farther than a “crap!” so my mother’s senses aren’t assaulted when she reads my books. I’m chicken; she still scares me.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 7:50 am

      Funny you mention the word ‘crap’. My mother-in-law confronted me one day and told me she had heard my husband use the ‘C’ word. I was shocked because I’ve never heard him say that. After much tooing and froing I realised she was talking about the word ‘crap’ (she’s far more straight-laced than my mother!) 😀 And she also thinks the ‘F’ word is ‘fart’… (I wish I could find the right emoticon to go here)…


      • Photos With Finesse / Oct 18 2012 7:53 am

        My son thought the ‘s’ word was ‘stupid’ for the longest time! And my mother thought ‘bugger’ was one of the worst swears in the world (next to the real ‘c’ one.) I think your emoticon would be O.O (big surprise).


      • Maddie Cochere / Oct 20 2012 2:55 pm

        Do *not* take the time to respond to this. I’m sure you’ve been swamped with comments. I just wanted to slip back in here and say congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Definitely a worthy post! 🙂


      • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 5:12 pm

        Okay – I’m taking the time to comment – lol!

        Thank you, my dear. You certainly know what it’s like 😀


  6. Denise Hisey / Oct 18 2012 7:48 am

    You are a riot, Dianne! I loved this, my belly laughs are too few and far between!
    Never heard about Fornicating under consent of the King before -that totally makes my day!
    Your mother must keep you on your toes.
    I think I self edit a bit too much -don’t want to offend anyone, ya know? But, you are absolutely right that some characters would sound ridiculous saying “for Pete’s sake” instead of S***!
    I think I’ll slide some swear words in just for the H*** of it and get myself loosened up a bit! 😉


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 7:56 am

      Oh, Denise – my mother certainly does keep me on my toes. She’s a gem (and a scary gem at that!) She’s very much into ‘what people may think’ but I think it comes with the age group.

      It’s good to loosen up a bit. If you drop the F bomb in a novel and it doesn’t take away from the piece it shouldn’t matter. I don’t like to read it in every second word, but that’s just my personal preference. Go ahead – be brave and loosen up 😉


  7. Photos With Finesse / Oct 18 2012 7:50 am

    My daughter told me last night that she tells her friends, ‘language – I’m not allowed to hear such words’ when they use the ‘f’ word. I was lmao because my response when the policeman fell would probably have been ‘Holy S***, are you ok?’

    I do find your article interesting because the only time I do swear is generally in the presence of immediate family & close friends. I don’t do it in my blogs, and definitely not in front of my customers. And I find it unnecessary in songs e.g. ….higher than a muthaf*%@.. (which gets electronically ‘airbrushed’ over for radio play but we all know what it is.) Used the f word on the 80lb puppy last week and he stopped misbehaving immediately so perhaps it does have it’s place. 😉


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:03 am

      That’s lovely about your daughter, Suzan – she has been taught very well 😀

      Like you, I don’t sear on my blogs (but I’ve seen some doosies in other people’s posts!) and I only swear under my breath or when I’m watching the football. I think dogs know these words because mine leave the room if my team is playing particularly badly 😉

      And as far as music goes – sheesh, some of those mutha***** songs are just downright weird…


  8. Amanda / Oct 18 2012 7:59 am

    All I can say is your mother’s lucky you’re not writing about me! I’ve always sworn like a sailor. I don’t know why but I guess I don’t do anything by halves so I don’t “exclaim” by halves either. I blame it on the Irish blood…


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:08 am

      Ah, the Irish 😉 they’ve given us a lot of great words. I have an Irish friend who often talks about ‘The Troubles’ – there’s probably an entire post in that.

      My background is Scottish/Welsh – they never swear 😉

      I may have to write about you one day, Amanda – I think you’ve done more interesting things in the last six months that I’ve done in my entire life!


  9. coffee2words / Oct 18 2012 8:06 am

    Reblogged this on coffee2words and commented:
    Here’s to parents and their ways of wondering about our colourful language. Mine said Tonight’s the night didn’t need the F word… I said it did! 🙂 thanks Dianne!


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:13 am

      Thank you so much for reblogging – I’m very flattered!

      Love your comment 😀


  10. suth2 / Oct 18 2012 8:09 am

    I loved this post. I came from a strict Presbyterian background and swearing was not allowed, and I might add, taking the Lord’s name in vain, so there was no “Jesus Christ”! When I became a parent my children were not even allowed to say “Shut up” and language was indeed without swearing.
    I was also a high school teacher and the students knew what they could and couldn’t get away with in my classroom. Swearing was definitely a no-no and if a swear word slipped out they immediately apologised. Now the playground, well that was an entirely different matter!
    On the matter of swearing I think there needs to be some standards kept and it is people such as your mum who help us to keep ourselves in check.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:24 am

      Thank you for dropping by! I see from your blog that you have lived in Canberra – that’s where I am at the moment 🙂

      I am also from a Presbyterian family and my husband’s family are Baptist so between the two we’re surrounded by very straight-laced people! I did say, ‘Jesus Christ’ in front of my mother-in-law once and would never make that mistake again!

      My mother certainly does keep the standards very high – but I guess people like her can make the world a far more interesting place sometimes 😀


  11. Zen A. / Oct 18 2012 8:17 am

    You know how I feel about colourful language, Dianne! 😉 I think I’m more or less like your mother. I never swear or use swearing in my writing, but if you do hear me use it, you would know that something must be really REALLY wrong, haha.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:25 am

      So true, Zen. If I heard you swear I would really start to worry! 😉


  12. Rick Mallery / Oct 18 2012 8:33 am

    I don’t swear myself, but my characters tend to have filthy mouths. It’s probably the manifestation of repression. It’s also a decoy. Keeps my mom from reading my books; otherwise, she might find out what I really think of her.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 5:43 pm

      Hahaha – oh dear, Rick! I hope your mom doesn’t read blogs 😉

      The manifestation of repression is an interesting one. My daughter (who would never think of swearing) swears in her sleep! I wonder if that’s a manifestation of repression? 😀


  13. Theo Fenraven / Oct 18 2012 8:57 am

    My mother used to be a hippie. She drops the f-bomb with no thought. I put it in a book when it fits, never gratuitously. As a freelance editor, I see it sometimes to excess and point out: “You can never offend anyone by not swearing but doing it too much can and will.”


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 5:45 pm

      So true, Theo – there’s a line and if I’m reading a book that uses it just for the jarring effect, I’ll put it down 🙂

      Sounds like you’ve had an interesting life 😉


  14. MishaBurnett / Oct 18 2012 9:06 am

    I think that using obscenity and profanity are a sign of a lack of imagination. Which is not to say that I don’t ever put them in my character’s mouths, just that I try to do so only when the character is genuinely in extremis and can’t think of anything else to say. I also think that the power of certain words is diminished by overuse–a perfect example in my opinion is the film “Blue Velvet”, where the f-word became an absolutely meaningless noise by constant repetition (which may have been David Lynch’s intention, actually).

    So my characters do swear, but it tends to be rare (I can only think of one usage in Catskinner’s Book, actually).


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 5:50 pm

      I can only think of one or two usages in each of my books. It’s a sign my characters are getting frustrated with the challenges I’ve set for them 😉

      I don’t know if I’ve ever seen ‘Blue Velvet’, I may have but I’m not a big movie goer and tend to fall asleep about half way through. I think it’s because I’m such an active person and once I stop for too long, I fall sleep 😀


  15. on thehomefrontandbeyond / Oct 18 2012 9:35 am

    Yay mom


  16. bodhisattvaintraining / Oct 18 2012 10:20 am

    If I feel it I use it 🙂 Love the photo of the Queen that you used ha ha ha


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 5:52 pm

      I thought the Queen was pretty cool and the look reminds me of my mother when we talk about the ‘F’ word! hahaha 😉


  17. jmmcdowell / Oct 18 2012 10:46 am

    In acceptable settings, I’ll drop some colorful language. But not at work, on the blog, in most public places—or in front of my mother. 🙂 I avoid the F-bomb in my WIPs, but there are damns, hells, shits,…. “What the—” is usually clear enough! People do swear, and if a character would do it in “the real world,” then he’ll come across more realistically on the page if he speaks that way.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 5:56 pm

      Exactly right. It has to fit and it has to be true to character. No bombs for me at work or on the blog or in front of my mother either. “What the – ” is a good one because you’re saying it without saying it. I like that 😀


      • jmmcdowell / Oct 20 2012 9:47 pm

        Hey, just had to stop back and say congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! That is so awesome! 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 9:01 am

      Thank you! It was a lovely surprise to wake up to this yesterday! 😀


  18. adinparadise / Oct 18 2012 11:18 am

    Oh, You really made me chuckle, Dianne. My mother’s reaction would be exactly the same as yours, except that I would make sure that she NEVER got her hands on a copy of the book. I also don’t like the ‘F’ word, but when used in the correct context, I don’t find it offensive. Your mom sounds like a real character, just like mine. 😀


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:00 pm

      She is a real character and there’s no way I can keep my books away from her. She’s my biggest fan – if she wasn’t related I’d probably have her arrested for stalking 😉

      You’re right about words being used in the right context. I can’t really have a character who’s a tough guy tiptoeing around the words he uses. I try to keep things as real as possible.


  19. Ruth Rainwater / Oct 18 2012 11:36 am

    My Mom was like Hyacinth, too! And she never swore, that I know of, at least she didn’t swear around me. I do let loose once in a while; all those swear words are perfectly good Anglo-Saxon-derived words. My kids always knew that if I let loose with the F-bomb or anything close, they’d better run for cover!! 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:06 pm

      That’s so cool, Ruth. My kids were the same when they were young. They knew to ‘walk away slowly’ when I was hammering nails or watching my favourite team being beaten in the football.

      I’m so glad you understand the Hyacinth similarity 😀


      • Ruth Rainwater / Oct 19 2012 12:05 pm

        We watch Hyacinth ever Saturday night, and even though we’ve seen every episode a million times, they still make us laugh! 🙂


      • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:24 pm

        She’s a classic 😉


  20. mcwoman / Oct 18 2012 12:56 pm

    Diane feel lucky that your mother wants to read your work. Mine didn’t bother. Neither did my brothers or sisters pick up any of my books. Thank God for my cousins. They are all fans. And as far as my siblings are concerned, well, F. . . them.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:11 pm

      Hahaha! Well said! 😉

      My mother is my greatest fan. In fact, every time I finish a book she calls the newspaper to tell them. They always say, ‘Oh, that’s lovely dear!’ My sisters are great, they proof read for me so they’ve read every one of my books. My brothers show no interest whatsoever. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have no siblings or parents proud of your work. As I said in my first line above – well said 😀


  21. bulldogsturf / Oct 18 2012 2:11 pm

    I can’t do more than like this post… I don’t have a family member that chides me for my language use… the wife will give me a nudge if I use a word she feels I shouldn’t in front of the Grand children… otherwise I pretty well control my language…. till I hurt myself then its all for them selves, if you are not an adult run… or listen and learn…


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:18 pm

      I’m the worst (apart from my older sister) for using a bit of colourful language when watching my favourite football team getting beaten or if I connect with a finger when hammering nails (that’s why I’m never keen for the DIY stuff – particularly in front of my mother). Some things happen and it just comes out – it’s the same with my characters 😀

      I agree with wife nudges – they’re always right 😉


  22. EllaDee / Oct 18 2012 2:54 pm

    I just laughed and laughed my way through your post… My blog posts are written the way I speak.. with a few swear words. I have to own that but also am influenced by the collective language of a large law firm culture & my construction site worker G.O., and in this sense people are much like parrots, we repeat what we hear. As a kid, my Dad used the usual swear words but never the big 2. My stepmother was straight laced and even shut up was forbidden. We’ve all mellowed to degrees but keep it relatively polite, and I have uttered the F-word in front of Dad but true to his nature he didn’t bat an eyelid. Your mother is priceless 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:27 pm

      I love this, Ella! I’m so glad it gave you a laugh. I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed swear words in your blog, so they must have been right for the context of the post 😀 Now I’ll be looking for them!

      My hubby has worked on construction sites and in mines for years and he knows when to turn it on and when to turn it off. We’re very politically correct in front of our parents, but that’s only because swearing upsets them and we wouldn’t want to make them sad or shocked. My MiL was upset one day because she said my hubby used the ‘C’ word – after much fuss and a lot of explaining we realised she was talking about the word ‘crap’ (seriously – that’s how bad they are!)


  23. jannatwrites / Oct 18 2012 3:23 pm

    Your mom sounds funny!

    I don’t write stories that require swearing. In college, I had a creative writing teacher that wanted my stuff to be “edgier”. I wrote a chapter with wretched characters and horrible language (yes, many f-bombs). The thing is, I wasn’t proud of it. I didn’t want anyone to see it. I’m actually turned off by stories that overuse the profanity. I think it often ruins a good story. A few f-bombs? Okay. A few f-bombs per page? Not the story for me 🙂

    I don’t have to worry about my mom critiquing my work – my family doesn’t even know I write (unless they somehow found my blog on the internet and have been reading it without letting on.) I decided I would feel more freedom to write if I didn’t have the pressure of knowing that people I know in ‘real life’ would be reading.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:36 pm

      I actually didn’t tell my family I wrote (in the nineties) but then I won a writing award and they were all really shocked. It was better that way, because I didn’t feel the pressure of them asking me, ‘Why are you writing? Are you serious?’ I felt as if I’d set my ground – there was no need to justify my passion (as sometimes happens in families). I feel no pressure at all now. They all know I write and they tell people I’m an author and I’m pretty happy with that.

      Having said that – my first published story was taken by my husband’s cousin to a priest because she thought it may have been in some way ‘evil’ (it was only about a girl in jail). But that side of the family is a little odd (funnily enough, I may write a story about them one day) 😀


  24. Janna G. Noelle / Oct 18 2012 4:14 pm

    Ha ha ha – I love that picture of the Queen, and I love “Keeping Up Appearances” as well. Very clever interpretation of the DP Challenge. 🙂

    Regarding swear words, I have no problem with them, in real life or in fiction. To be sure, the F-bomb in a story is jarring and shocking and should be used sparingly like you did. But if it’s in keeping with the character’s personality to say it, then I’m all for it and the realism it will offer to the story.

    I use “profanity” occasionally in my work as well, but since I’m writing medieval historical, the phrases tend to be much less jarring to modern sensibilities.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:45 pm

      Thanks, Janna. I had a big laugh over the picture of the Queen as well, because the look really reminded me of my mother when we discuss the use of the ‘F’ word!

      You’re so right about “in keeping with the character’s personality” – we need to keep our writing as ‘real’ as possible and if we dodge the use of certain words we’re doing our characters a disservice. I may use the F- bomb once or twice in a novel and that’s it. I’ve never had a character who needs to use it any more than that. Sometimes I think they swear out of pure frustration of the situations I put them in! 😀


  25. pbh / Oct 18 2012 5:56 pm

    I once called my mother a prick, and she sent my play friend home in disgust…she then asked me why I would use such as word that means “what little boys go the bathroom with”. It’s hillarious to remember that occasion that still stands out in my mind from so many years ago. It is interesting that we english speakers generally use sexual terms to swear, a departure from our normal uptightness. I truly enjoy Quebec french profanities that are related to catholicism, being basically impious myself.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 6:51 pm

      I could imagine your mother would have thought it was an odd thing to call her, given its meaning! Most times kids don’t have any idea what swear words mean – they use them because they’ve heard them and they sound fairly powerful.


  26. richarddancer / Oct 18 2012 6:28 pm

    My 84 year old mother winces and puts on a queen-like expression when she hears the ‘f’ word in a film and then asks the question of no-one in particular: ‘What’s wrong with their vocabulary?’

    But then she is a Scrabble buff and few four letter words score enough points, do they?

    Enjoyed the post, Dianne.


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 7:03 pm

      Your mother sounds very much like mine, Richard 🙂 The over 80’s are in a class unto themselves. So they should be – they’ve survived this far 😉

      I’m also a Scrabble buff – APEX is a nice four letter word, but the triple isn’t often open for it.

      Thank you so much for coming over. So glad you liked my post 😀


  27. ramblingsfromamum / Oct 18 2012 7:37 pm

    I love the post like everyone else. Watching The Tudor Series is quite funny to hear Henry VII say f…. but then when they speak of getting jiggy with it “Has he lain with her..or did he take her maiden head”… I mean say it how it is!! Your mother sounds like mine (she’s 83) I think I have heard her say “shite” only once and sometimes a bugga or a bloody will emerge..but she is good as sometimes I drop the f…. and she doesn’t grimace (which is highly unusual). I like others say if the character is a person who would say it then print it… it is only a word after all 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:31 pm

      I’m amazed at how many of us have mothers in their 80s! It’s wonderful – I was beginning to think I was the only one. They certainly made them tough in those days 😉

      I love ‘getting jiggy with it’ on the Tudors – you gave me a big belly laugh here (not that I have a big belly!)

      So glad you liked the post and agree that it’s okay to drop that F bomb if it suits the character 😀


  28. jmgoyder / Oct 18 2012 7:44 pm

    Ha – this made me laugh. My mother was trying to censor my blog for awhile and it was awful!


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:32 pm

      Oh no! My mother doesn’t know about my blog. If she did – she’d be the first one to give her ‘opinion’ on every post 😀


      • jmgoyder / Oct 18 2012 9:05 pm

        My mother and I are close but argh!


  29. Lisaman / Oct 18 2012 7:50 pm

    OMW you are so blessed to have your mother around…enjoy those moments…she sounds absolutely delightful!!


    • diannegray / Oct 18 2012 8:34 pm

      She is delightful, Lisa. An absolute gem 😉

      I lost my father several years ago so I cherish every moment my mother and I have together 😀


  30. pommepal / Oct 18 2012 10:20 pm

    I really loved this post, your dear old Mam (as we say in Yorkshire) sounds so English and so very Hyacinth Bucket, I loved that show too. I also really enjoyed reading through the comments and all the people who have 80+ year old Mothers that are keeping up appearances…


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 6:51 am

      There seem to be a lot of them. It’s really good to see!

      I hope Townsville is treating you well – where to next?


      • pommepal / Oct 19 2012 7:38 am

        Maybe, possible, could be…. south…. 🙂


  31. foroneplease / Oct 18 2012 10:48 pm

    hahahaha..I love characters that sprinkle a little pepper in their language 😉 I guess it’s probably coz that means that they don’t give a damn about being judged by others. I like that!
    teehee.. although not incessant abuse, like the characters from the film called Casino (eeeuckh!)
    P.S: just bought Soul’s child…soooo looking fwd! And XXL hugs to ur Mumsy!


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 6:55 am

      Thank you so much – I think you’ll like Soul’s Child 😉

      A little pepper is nice, but I have seen the movie Casino (or part thereof, because I ended up turning it off) and it’s just FFF all the way through, and very violent! I’m not into violent films at all, which could be an idea for another post 😀


  32. letizia / Oct 18 2012 11:29 pm

    Great post! I don’t think twice about swear words in books I’m reading unless it seems forced, which can sometimes happen – going against who I thought the character was or if it seems like it’s there just to provoke the reader in some way which seems odd. Loe the photo of the Queen 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:01 am

      Thanks, Letizia – the one of the Queen is pretty funny 😉

      You’re right about the language being forced – if it’s natural we really don’t notice it, but provoking the reader is never a good idea. I’m not a huge reader and never have been, so for me to sit down and read an entire book, it has to be pretty good. If anything seems forced I just close it and forget about it because I just don’t have enough time to waste on something I’m not enjoying. I know this might sound odd for an author, but it’s just the way I am 😀


      • letizia / Oct 19 2012 8:05 am

        I’m fascinated that you’re not a big reader. As you are a writer, I just assumed you were. But, in fact, I can understand that you wouldn’t necessarily want to read other people’s stories- to keep a certain purity perhaps.


      • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 8:16 am

        I know people who read several novels a week. I just can’t do that. I also get bored very easily so I need to love the novel I’m reading (or be proofing it for someone) to get all the way to the end. They say to be a writer, you must read a lot, but I guess I’m the exception to the rule 😦


  33. gigglinggranny / Oct 18 2012 11:29 pm

    I try not to use the ‘F’ word in my poetry. That said, when I do eventually do use it, maybe it will pack more of a punch.
    Someone once told me that the purpose of swearing is to get people to stop and listen. If over used, they will stop listening all together.


  34. agjorgenson / Oct 18 2012 11:41 pm

    Delightful! I have had friends who swear creatively, which I find amusing. I have also had friends and acquaintances who swear habitually, which I find tedious. My swearing generally involves pain.


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:03 am

      Exactly the same for me – pain always forces those words through my lips, particularly unexpected pain like the hammer on the thumb 😦


  35. Sonya Loveday / Oct 18 2012 11:50 pm

    Perfectly said:) I’m sensoring my characters a lot more than they should be sensored (even they are dumbfounded at their inablitlity to cuss). My reasoning? My 12 year old daughter looked at me and said: “Mommy, when your done with your book, am I going to be able to read it?” What was I supposed to say? Eeesh! I can guarantee you one thing, the cussing in my WIP couldn’t hold a candle to what I hear coming out of Middle Schoolers on a daily basis. I hear it every day when I pick up my kids from school. It’s even got to the point where I keep my windows rolled up – because it embarasses me 😦 But still – did I need to use it in my book? Oh, how the questions kept rolling in my head. I did the one and only thing I could do to make it all go away. I took out the 2 f-bombs and breathed a sigh of relief. I’ve avoided it for now 😉 Awesome post Dianne!


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:11 am

      Well said, Sonya. It’s your work and they’re your characters – if you don’t want to them to swear they won’t swear. The may say ‘What the-‘ and it’s kind of a given because we know what that means without using the word.

      I think it’s lovely that your daughter is so keen to read your book, what a gem she must be 😉

      And as for school children – what’s the story there? It’s almost like another type of language has crept into society and taken over. Sometimes I see them on the street and there’s not one sentence without the F bomb – they use it like I used to use the word ‘and’! Maybe they need mothers like mine who would give them a good talking to if they heard them say those words. But I guess their parents don’t really care, or don’t know…

      So glad you liked the post 😀


      • Sonya Loveday / Oct 19 2012 7:34 am

        We should send your mother and a big bar of soap out to take care of the offenders. That should solve the problem! Wouldn’t that be funny?!?!


  36. ocdreader/Elisa / Oct 19 2012 3:01 am

    Wonderful post! I try not to swear on my blog, though sometimes I feel it is warranted (rarely) and in life I try not to curse because then I sound like my mom who tosses the F-bomb around when she is angry. (My sister and I are both like that) But I will go on cursing rants sometimes with only certain people and then I shock myself to watch my language again. I find it fun sometimes because I don’t let myself do it often, so I get to rebel against me! (That might be an issue, but I haven’t looked into it)
    As for books, so many people curse it would be weird if our characters in books didn’t! From the books I read, it is usually the colorful sidekicks that might drop a bomb here or there.

    My niece came over and when it was just us two she started adding curse words to her story – I asked her about it and she said she was learning the language of “middle school” and had to practice. She couldn’t in front of her mom, so we cursed happily together for a while. I think kids start rebelling verbally around that age, so she and I had a forbidden discussion. It felt so wrong, but we had a good time for an hour, then stopped. Weird but true. Aunties can get away with that stuff sometimes. Of course I never told her mom (who curses like a sailor by the way), oops.


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:20 am

      That’s a few times now I’ve heard ‘middle school’ language. I find it really interesting that you say it’s a verbal rebelling thing because that’s exactly what it must be. Kids love to shock and horrify their parents sometimes and maybe it’s those words that get them the greatest attention (I’m leaning a lot through this post!) 😀

      I think it’s great that you have that kind of relationship with your niece – you must be the ‘cool’ aunt!


  37. Roy McCarthy / Oct 19 2012 3:51 am

    We have clone mothers! My Mum’s reaction to the sprinkle of choice words from a single character in my last book was ‘it was unnecessary.’ 😦 As a result my latest m/s is naughty word free – I’ve been censored 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:22 am

      Oh no, Roy – our mothers are on the censorship board! I’m feeling your pain… (and laughing a lot at your comment) 😀


  38. mesiegweeks / Oct 19 2012 3:54 am

    Love this post and the picture of the queen as well. It made me laugh. I agree if the character would say it, I would put it in.


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 8:08 pm

      Thanks, Mary. I thought the picture of the Queen was pretty funny as well. So glad you liked the post! 😉


  39. ly / Oct 19 2012 6:25 am

    Hyacinth? Well, for Pete’s sake! Your brunches must be divine.
    I agree that in writing you must be true to your character’s personality. I dislike characters who do not seem to have any other words in their vocabularies, however. Swearing has its time and place and I can use a colorful word or two occasionally. I did make it through all those years of teaching middle school without ever having one escape my lips–I said escape my lips, not, go through my head!!


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:36 am

      Kids are great like that – apart from banging your head on a cupboard door, they really test you to the limit with wanting to swear sometimes. I think you’ve done very well getting though that time without letting the words out! Well done (there should be an award for this) 😀

      You’re so right about being true to character. If one of my characters has it in them – it’s got to come out sooner or later, particularly if they’re under stress (which I love to do to my characters)!


  40. justinwriter / Oct 19 2012 10:25 am

    I would show her a clean version of your WIP with ‘for Pete’s sake’ replacing the F words. 🙂

    If I use a swear word in my writing I’ll only use it once for impact. When a writer uses swearing liberally, it f*^$@n annoys me! Any word or term repeated too much annoys me. Ever read Slaughterhouse Five? Every time someone dies the author, Kurt Vonnegut, says ‘so it goes’ and a lot of people die. Arrggh! 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:22 pm

      She’d love it if I replaced the word with ‘For Pete’s sake!’ and say – ‘wonderful story, dear!’

      I’ve not read Slaughterhouse Five, but I get your drift – ‘so it goes’ would really annoy me as well 😀


  41. coville123 / Oct 19 2012 2:26 pm

    Reblogged this on savedollarblog and commented:
    This post made me chuckle loved it!


  42. maggiemyklebust / Oct 19 2012 4:57 pm

    Haha…great post Diane!
    My mom too can knock anyone down to size without using curse words. Me on the other hand, if I don’t throw in a curse word no one knows I’m mad…


    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:31 pm

      My mother can seriously damn someone so politely that they don’t know what’s hit them until it’s too late! 😀

      I’m the same as you – if I curse, people know I’m really mad 😉


  43. Vikki (The View Outside) / Oct 19 2012 6:10 pm

    Awwwwww, bless your mummy! 🙂

    I admit, I swear like the proverbial trooper, but never did in front of my nan. A few words slipped out occasionally and I would get the look lol

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, she’s not around now to comment on any of my writing 😉



    • diannegray / Oct 19 2012 7:34 pm

      Aww! So sorry your nan’s not around anymore 😦 bless her!

      I love ‘the look’. I know it all too well! 😉


  44. Britt Skrabanek / Oct 20 2012 12:59 am

    LOL! This is a riot, Dianne! I was definitely more hesitant about cussing in my first novel, but let it rip in the second. I had a bunch of modern day characters in their mid-twenties…they’re going to cuss. If they said “Golly gee whiz”, it would be a bit strange.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 5:41 pm

      So right, Britt! You can’t keep it real if your characters are going to ‘watch what they say’. 😀


  45. on thehomefrontandbeyond / Oct 20 2012 3:31 am

    congrats on getting FPd–you deserve it


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 5:48 am

      I didn’t know – only just saw it then! Thank you! 😀


  46. mrscarmichael / Oct 20 2012 3:33 am

    My mother’s speciality was “Bugger” with particular emphasis on the first syllable. That was it, all her life. She was exactly the same age as the Queen who I bet can swear with the best of them. Oddly enough I’ve just blogged about her (ooh and my mother) so really enjoyed your take on the splash.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 5:57 am

      I’m heading over now to take a look at your post. Thank so much for coming by. Bugger is a word I’ve heard my elderly aunts say (I wonder if they know what it means?) 😀


      • mrscarmichael / Oct 20 2012 6:26 am

        I know. She thought it was harmless. Thanks for having a check of my blogroll.


  47. Allison Wright / Oct 20 2012 3:44 am

    My mother also says “for Pete’s sake!”. The way she says the fricative F in “for” though, you could swear she is about to say something else. It seemed to escape her notice all these years that my father’s name is Peter. She did use mild swear words occasionally when my sister and I were young, and somewhere in my late twenties, I noticed the occasional F-word slipping in too. No biggie, but our family does not really talk like that in public. Great tactic that, steering the conversation towards the Queen! 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:02 am

      Thanks, Alison! I find if you point the conversation in the direction of royalty it takes her mind off it 😉

      I think it’s hilarious that your mother says “for Peter’s sake” when our father’s name is Peter – what a classic!


  48. The Guat / Oct 20 2012 3:53 am

    Very nice take on the writing challenge. Pretty funny stuff … “for Pete’s Sake,” that one cracked me up. 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:04 am

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I’m so glad it gave you a chuckle! 😀


  49. w3bmoon / Oct 20 2012 4:08 am

    how fun


  50. segmation / Oct 20 2012 4:19 am

    My mom acts like a censor to my work, but I feel it is okay as she is older and you have to have respect however, I do what I want to and she just knods!


  51. windupmyskirt / Oct 20 2012 4:28 am

    I make a point out of not cursing in my blog (I haven’t yet written a book, but am toying with the idea), if only because I think swearing has a tendency to make a point sound less educated and valid. That said, I’m not adverse to cussing like a sailor when having heated discussions with friends. Love the post.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:11 am

      I don’t curse on my blog, either. I’ve never really had a reason to, but I’ve seen some blogs that would make your hair curl! 😀

      Most of my swear words appear when my favourite football team are playing badly – I sound quite uneducated during those games 😉


  52. sportsandthecross / Oct 20 2012 5:22 am

    Great post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed as well!


  53. Thunderbolt / Oct 20 2012 5:22 am

    Hi I love the way your say your mum uses her tongue like a machete and clearly doesn’t need swear words to express herself, far cleverer than swearing. To be honest I don’t really like a lot of swearing in a book, article etc but then there are some people who you couldn’t portray accurately without littering their speech with swearing as that paints a better picture of them. Being British I think that the Scottish and Irish swear beautifully it just seems to sound right coming from them but the English especially the toffs don’t sound right at all swearing but then I am English and I can say that!


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:21 am

      Hey, Leslie – I just went over to your page to see you’re planning to cross the Atlantic – wow, it looks like an exciting trip!

      Yes – my mother can be very cutting and you don’t really know what’s hit you until it’s too late. As for characters – we need to keep them ‘real’ so if they are the tough swearing type they need to drop at least one during the story.

      I love the way the Scottish say ‘shite’ – it rolls off the tongue much more smoothly than other curse words 😉


  54. birdmanps / Oct 20 2012 5:22 am

    Reblogged this on birdmanps.


  55. Liz / Oct 20 2012 5:53 am

    Great post! I definitely censor myself on my blog because a vast majority of my family reads it and it wouldn’t go over too well. I can imagine them saying the exact same thing as your mom. Along with, “I didn’t know you used such language.” I’ve started to put a few “hells” in there every so often, but it’s much more subdued than my usual salty sailor speak.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:24 am

      I’m careful on my blog as well, Liz. You never know who’s going to read it and it kind of reflects ‘who you are’ to the world.

      So glad you like my post 😀


  56. mysweatyshirt / Oct 20 2012 6:11 am

    I do swear (and got lecture by mom) but not occasionally. I know some that swears a lot and drop the ‘F’ bomb in every sentence. Another funny thing on the act of swearing is when it is a tongue slip. My aunt was driving with my mom beside and her little son at the back seat. What happened is, the driver in front stopped suddenly that my aunt stepped on the brake hard and unconsciously swear at the driver. Now, my little cousin is a clever kid and hearing his mom said the word, he repeated it. Showing support I guess. It was a tense moment a while ago and suddenly it was a funny situation. My aunt felt guilty later on though I think the driver deserved every bit of swearing. 😛 Great post!


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:28 am

      So glad you liked the post 😉

      Kids always pick up on swear words because we say them loudly and with passion. I think it’s funny that your cousin ‘showed support’ for your aunt by using her word – very cute story 😀


  57. 3arn0wl / Oct 20 2012 6:18 am

    I try not to use the F word in public! Incidentally, swear words always have very strong consonants – handy for expression, I find! 😉


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:31 am

      I’d never thought of the strong consonants before – very clever thought 😉


      • 3arn0wl / Oct 20 2012 6:43 am

        In terms of singing – vowels of for beauty, consonants are for diction. Consonants are sharp and will cut any texture.


  58. tanyamuagututia / Oct 20 2012 6:35 am

    I write plays. I co-wrote a play with a friend and playwrite that swears like a sailor. Our play is about Samoan girls, so my biggest worry was offending my parents when they would eventually come and watch it. I was so worried I’d got myself ill and missed the opening! We used one F word, less offensive words and Samoan swear words and so I knew I’d get the ‘what for?’ from at least my Mum (I had my Dad, Aunty, in-laws and church ministers also to deal with). The following morning I faced the lions at breakfast and asked them what they thought of the play. The first thing they said was ‘you have to cut the swearing’, and I explained that the “emphasis needed for that character is a reflection of our reality’. They accepted that. I was relieved. But then my Mum said ‘those words are so offensive because they mean something different in Samoan’. She was referring to the Samoan swear words that we’d put in. I was even more relieved as we were able to completely take them out without it changing anything of the story. This ended up being a generational issue. Growing up, my aunty (much younger than her sibling, my Dad) use to swear in the Samoan language a lot. So much so that we would mimic her to our Samoan friends and cousins. To us, using another language like that was more for laughs than for offending, and it still is. Just thought I’d share. I love what you wrote about swearing.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 6:40 am

      This is an amazing story. Firstly – you poor thing for worrying yourself sick and missing the opening night 😦 Secondly – it’s really interesting that the Samoan words were what offended most. I wouldn’t have expected that and I guess you’d have to know the language very well to pick up on it.

      Thank you so much for sharing this experience! 😉


  59. Simple Sustenance / Oct 20 2012 6:37 am

    I agree with your mother. Don’t see the point of cursing. It sounds …….
    Interesting post.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 7:26 am

      LOL – Love it! Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting 😀


  60. moderndayruth / Oct 20 2012 6:44 am

    CONGRATULATIONS, dear Dianne!!! OMG! I am so happy you got Freshly Pressed! I just opened the FP page, a colorful banner caught my eye… and then i realized it was yours!!! As excellently written as ever! Congrats once again!!!


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 7:25 am

      Thank you so much, my dear Lena! I woke up to see it this morning and thought ‘what the-‘ I think that’s me 😀


  61. disparatedisciplines / Oct 20 2012 6:48 am

    I would love to know the true beginnings of the ‘f’ word. The main story I’ve heard is that it originated during one of the wars between the English & the French. The English longbow-men had greater range than their French counterparts using shorter bows, which mightily brassed off the French. The English began taunting them, sticking out their middle fingers (which they used while shooting) & saying ‘pluck you.’ This supposedly evolved into ‘fuck you.’


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 7:37 am

      I wouldn’t mind knowing either. But if it’s got nothing to do with the royal family I probably wouldn’t share it with my mother 😉

      I’m sure it’s origins must belong to the English/French – but I stand to be corrected if that’s not the case.

      Thank you so much for coming by and commenting on this – much appreciated 😀


      • disparatedisciplines / Oct 20 2012 7:41 am

        If I ever hear of a story that sounds like it’s got some facts to back it up I’ll let you know. I think you’re right- an English/French origin seems most likely. Hopefully your mother will approve!


      • kragenhai / Oct 21 2012 12:52 am

        I think the English F word is a basterdisation of the Dutch word “fok” which means “breed”.
        As in honde fokker = dog breeder, kippen fokker = chicken breeder etc. etc.
        After all was it not King William of Orange, the king of Holland who was simultaneously the king of England. Quite possible that he brought it with him!


      • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 7:59 am

        The Dutch version does sound very similar – great info kragenhai! 🙂


  62. 4amWriter / Oct 20 2012 7:58 am

    I litter my rough drafts with the “F” word because it’s easier to type that in the heat of the moment than to take time to find a word that still gets the message across without seeming juvenile. When I revise, I do swap out the swear words and rephrase the sentences so I’m not relying so much on profanity and more on body language or business so that “F” words aren’t necessary.

    Wait…the comment above just caught my eye…you were Freshly Pressed??? I need to find out more…!



    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 8:58 am

      Hahaha – your comment made me laugh. I only noticed this morning as well 😀

      I really only drop one or two into each novel where it’s absolutely necessary. After all, if I was put into some of the situations I put my characters in I’d probably swear as well 😉


  63. Piper George / Oct 20 2012 8:39 am

    Great post. I find that when I read a book with swearing in and it suits the character, I don’t notice it. But when it seems added in for shock value or too often it jars. Like watching a film with some swearing, which is fine, but continued profanity just makes it unwatchable.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 9:02 am

      So true, Piper! If it’s called for (ie – our lead character is falling off a cliff) then it’s understandable. When it’s put in for shock it just becomes annoying.

      Thanks for stopping by to say hello! 😀


  64. The DNA Diaries / Oct 20 2012 9:05 am

    First, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! May the exposure bring many book sales your way.

    Swearing was always just as bad as sex before marriage in my parents house. Underage drinking and gambling were widely accepted, but God help you if you uttered any profanity prior to age 18, and may He have mercy upon your soul if you had unmarried sex.

    My uncle swears that the use of profanity is simply that of an uneducated person who has a weak mind, but I disagree. A well placed expletive can be just what a sentence needs to illustrate a point in a way that no other word (s) could. Perhaps it simply boils down to this – there’s a time and place for everything.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 1:17 pm

      Thank you for the congrats. It was a really nice surprise 🙂

      You’re right about the time and place for everything – if it’s true to character and not all over the place, then I think it’s okay. My mother on the other hand….



  65. looselipstheatrecompany / Oct 20 2012 9:58 am

    I agree there is definitely a place for the f bomb if in keeping with the character…but also it can be used sparingly for a character who would not usually swear, supposing they were driven to it, for example. I use the dreaded f word far too much in my everyday language I’ve noticed since having a attempt to stop usually goes something like this: oh fuck…shit gotta stop doing that…fuck I said shit…his first work will be shit..fucking hell can you imagine?! :s As a playwright I tend to avoid colourful language, but as I write comedy the occasional well timed fuck can be quite nice…in terms of writing and performance…there’s no way out of this is there!! A well timed fuck is always welcome…whichever way you look at it 😉 nice blog


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 1:20 pm

      Woah! That’s a lot of cussing there 😉 Kids will pick up the loudest and most passionate words so the first words will usually be ones that get the most attention. I really hope his first word is “MUM” 😀


  66. elsiepenworthy2 / Oct 20 2012 10:03 am

    I actually really like this! Not to say I never swear but it’s refreshing to see a perspective that shows that you can make a point come across without a million different F-bombs. You’re mom sounds like an excellent person!


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 1:21 pm

      She is a dear 😉

      So glad you liked the post! 😀


  67. Notes From The Backseat / Oct 20 2012 10:42 am

    I don’t swear in my daily life. I think around here “For Pete’s Sake” became “Heavens to Betsy” years ago (and I’m only 27). I also make it a point to not swear on my blog (at least not often and I try to %#$%#^ it out so as not to offend my more conservative readers. That said… I have been proofreading the novel I started two years ago and my leading lady is a serial killer… She swears, a lot, but something tells me that the swearing would be the least of my concerns if someone in my church group every read what I had written. I fear an exorcism in my future hehe or at the very least, banishment from the congregation


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 1:24 pm

      Hahahahaha! Love it! I can’t imagine the serial killer saying “Heavens to Betsy, I’m going to kill you!”

      I hope there’s no exorcism in your future – but if it happens you’ll have to write a post about it. I know I’ll read it 😀


      • Notes From The Backseat / Oct 20 2012 3:07 pm

        hehe that would certainly be an interesting commentary wouldn’t “My experience being exorcised” lol Oh my! I just know, that in letting my husband read the first two chapters, he blushed… He doesn’t blush for anything, so I know I wont be letting certain people read it… Ever!


  68. ghostbusterbev / Oct 20 2012 11:00 am

    Great stories! I’m fairly new to blogging, so I am finding my way around to some of these great sites. Will definitely come back for more!


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 1:28 pm

      I just checked out your site to see that you write about communicating with spirits. That’s very interesting – I’m now ‘following’ you 😀


      • ghostbusterbev / Oct 20 2012 1:43 pm

        That’s wonderful! Thanks Dianne.


      • ghostbusterbev / Oct 20 2012 1:52 pm

        That’s wonderful…great to have an Aussie writer on board!


  69. Mad Queen Linda / Oct 20 2012 11:07 am

    I try not to use “colorful” language, but I admit, I just published a post with a pretty colorful title. Sometimes there’s only one word that fits. Congrats on FP, and hi to your mom.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 1:31 pm

      Thanks, Linda. I’m going over now to check it out 😉


  70. amb / Oct 20 2012 11:40 am

    What a brilliant interpretation of this week’s DPChallenge Dianne! Made me laugh out loud. Loved it! And congratulations on being Freshly Pressed 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 5:16 pm

      Thanks so much, Amb! I’m so glad you liked it! 😀


  71. n1ngtyas / Oct 20 2012 11:49 am

    whoa, congrats on being Pressed!


  72. Humans Are Weird / Oct 20 2012 11:57 am

    People are too easily offended by words. For Pete’s sake, they’re just fucking words. Lines formed in a way that communicate what our minds see, hear and feel. That’s all.

    I don’t often swear (it’s relative), but I never censor myself if I feel the vomit of an f* bomb manifesting. Stephen Fry’s got a few great videos re his views on swearing. Easily findable on YouTube, if you’re interested.

    And also, to anyone who looks at swearing as evidence for a narrow vocab…challenge, accepted!


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 1:34 pm

      Well said! 😉


      • Humans Are Weird / Oct 20 2012 1:57 pm

        Oh, I forgot to say, sweet post. I shall endeavour to peruse your works when I’m less burdened by exams and essays demanding my attention. Bah!


  73. njhasan / Oct 20 2012 12:47 pm

    Reblogged this on WriterGurl INK..


  74. Janna G. Noelle / Oct 20 2012 1:05 pm

    Hey, I saw this post on Freshly Pressed. Congratulations!!!

    (It was that pic of the Queen again that caught my eye. Love it!)


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 5:20 pm

      Thanks, Janna. It was a bit of a surprise for me 😀

      So glad you came over to say hello! 😀


  75. asylum4211 / Oct 20 2012 2:30 pm

    I personally have no beef with swearing, but I do realize you have to know when and where it’s acceptable. People have many different views on swearing, so I find it best to cut it out when talking to acquaintances or family. My view of swearing, however, is that they are only words to add extra emphasis to what has to be said. I use it mostly in poetry or a funny post as for blogging 😛

    In a story, I use swearing just if it’s part of a character’s personality.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 4:45 pm

      I only really have a problem with swearing when it’s over the top – otherwise I’m okay with it 😉

      Thanks for coming by 😀


  76. lindahoyland / Oct 20 2012 3:16 pm

    I enjoyed your article. I’m much like your Mum and manage to go through life without swearing. If I were writing a story I’d say “He cursed under his breath” or words to that effect.


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 4:51 pm

      I’ve used that before as well. It’s a great idea – “she mumbled a profanity under her breath” – it works really well because the reader knows (without reading the word they’re saying) how angry they are! 😉

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post 😀


  77. Bodhimoments / Oct 20 2012 3:21 pm

    Lovely post! I might be closer in age to your mother than you, and like her, I can reduce people to tears with words without swearing! But I don’t really care if another person swears, and of course in a book or play it is often necessary for true to character portrayal. Having said that, even my adult daughter curtails her tongue in front of me…. I agree with many other responses here, in general in real life, swearing is boring and tedious. There are many ways to express frustration…..

    Thanks for the laughs!


    • diannegray / Oct 20 2012 4:59 pm

      I’m really glad you liked it 😉 I just went over to your blog and read about the Kookaburra in the palm tree – I love it!

      It’s amazing how people can control language, so you would understand how my mother can cut people to shreds without using foul language. She also does it – oh, so politely! 😀

      Thanks for dropping by. I’m following your blog now so I’ll be back for more…


      • Bodhimoments / Oct 20 2012 6:42 pm

        Thank you!!!! I am honoured…. And I just realised your mother’s age, I am not quite there yet! 🙂 But I look forward to reading more posts from you.


  78. harulawordsthatserve / Oct 20 2012 5:21 pm

    Hey, just gotta congratulate you on being ‘freshly pressed’ – how exciting!!!


  79. Peter / Oct 20 2012 11:16 pm

    Profanity is the crutch of the conversational cripple. There are plenty of ways of getting your point across without it. But it sure seems that nowadays it’s hard to find anyone who isn’t cursing up a storm. For a supposedly sophisticated society our language seems to be evolving in the opposite direction…. :-\


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 8:09 am

      Thanks, Peter. I just went over to your blog to see you’ve retired early (I’m retiring in two week and seriously can’t wait!).

      Speaking of language evolving (or devolving) – have you ever seen the movie ‘Idiocracy’? It’s a comedy, but scarily dumb in the fact that it looks at the path we are now on with the popularity of talk shows, reality shows and the devolution of language. It contains a very scary message for us all.

      Thanks for dropping by 😉


      • Peter / Oct 21 2012 9:11 am

        Cant say as I have seen the movie.
        And yes I have retired early and am loving every moment if it. If we can ever get our 1923 former school house sold we’re off on the road to anywhere that suits our fancy.
        Cheers, and keep writing.


      • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 9:37 am

        Thank you, Peter. I’m selling up and moving back to the country (I’ve had enough of city life) to write full time 😉


      • Peter / Oct 26 2012 10:38 am

        Boy — can I understand THAT view. We were on the road from Jun1 to Oct 15 and spent all that time in or “near” towns of less than 15,000. Some of the best time in my life.


      • diannegray / Oct 26 2012 4:51 pm

        How wonderful, Peter!


  80. dorothyadele / Oct 21 2012 1:06 am

    I think that the F word is vile and degrading. I think that it says a lot about our liberal society that it is used every day. In my opinion, it doesn’t add anything to a story. I generally will not comment or like a post that uses the F word because it would be a poor reflection on me. I felt the same way when I saw “Jersey Boys” with my teenagers. The language made me cringe. By the way, my friends would tell you that I am the opposite of a prude!


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 8:15 am

      It’s very hard to escape nowadays. Several years back you could watch a movie and know if they were going to drop the F bomb by the rating, but recently I heard it in a kid’s rated movie and was pretty shocked they let it through. But as a lot of other people have commented here – it’s all through the schools, so it has become an everyday word for a lot of people. And no – I don’t think you’re a prude either! 😉


  81. bigsmileu1 / Oct 21 2012 1:08 am

    I am honored to nominate you for the Reality Award and the One Lovely Blog Award! Please pick-up your award at Copy and Paste the Award to your blog and follow the rules of acceptance. I wish you many blessings. Congratulations!!


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 8:38 am

      And I am honored to accept them 😀

      I’m heading over to your site now to take a look 😉


  82. Ammon / Oct 21 2012 2:38 am

    I learned from Van Halen that the F— word stood for “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”.


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 8:39 am

      I’ve heard that too somewhere. I didn’t know it came from Van Halen. Thanks for the info 😀


      • Ammon / Oct 21 2012 8:55 am

        It was the name of one of their albums from the Sammy Hagar incarnation of the band. It featured the hits Poundcake and Right Now


  83. Amy E / Oct 21 2012 3:44 am

    I really like when writers include cuss words because it seems more realistic. When writers censor things in order to not offend someone, it comes off insincere because everyone cusses. It’s like keeping sex out of your writing; it’s not actually a big deal because it’s natural but American society makes us feel guilty about something that every single person does.


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 8:49 am

      Thanks, Amy – I just went over to your blog and learned a bit about Orlando. I sounds very similar to Cairns in Australia (where I will be living next year) 😉

      Anyway – about the cuss words. Keeping it real it what life should be about. There will always be censors and always be cussers and I don’t believe they’ll ever meet on middle ground. People tend to get very passionate about language and sex in books and I think, if they don’t like it – don’t read it. It’s pretty simple. Natural everyday day things can tend to become taboo (like sex in books and movies) and sometimes we don’t get a true reflection of life if we ignore these things. My books don’t contain sex, but that’s just because I find it too hard to write about (I get tangled up in the words and it just ends up a comedy!)

      Thanks so much for stopping by 😀


  84. Tanveer Rauf / Oct 21 2012 5:00 am

    very well written


  85. Nikki Manson / Oct 21 2012 8:09 am

    “Do you think twice about using that word in your work?”

    I don’t think – I just use it. 🙂

    “Do you have a family member that acts as a ‘censor’ to your work?”

    Maybe this phrase is quite overused, but it still makes sense: don’t think about what your mom will say.


  86. friendlytm / Oct 21 2012 8:44 am

    I love your article and your mother!


  87. iRuniBreathe / Oct 21 2012 9:03 am

    I wonder if the Queen has ever let loose a string of cussing? Would your mother approve then?

    Congrats on the FP!


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 9:30 am

      Thank you – I went over to take a look at your blog to see you’ve gone through the FP thingy as well 😀

      I think my mother would probably be mortified if she heard the Queen let loose like a sailor 😉

      Thanks so much for dropping into say hello!


  88. Christy / Oct 21 2012 10:52 am

    My mom is just like your mom. She, too, thinks that swear words do not have a place in media no matter what form; therefore, if I ever want her to hear or read any of my work I deliberately hide or don’t read them to her. Other than her, I don’t think I have anyone like that in my life. Glad to know I’m not alone. 😀 Keep writing and maybe one day we will both be famous! 😉


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 12:47 pm

      Thanks Christy! It’s good to know I’m not alone on this as well 🙂 I like the ‘famous’ comment!


  89. Bryan Do / Oct 21 2012 11:58 am

    love this


  90. LilLostGirl / Oct 21 2012 12:34 pm

    I used to, a lot. I’ve tried to cut down – sometimes it’s just how I’m feeling and I’d rather say the “F” word than punch someone in the face, so I guess it words for me – and the person I would’ve punched 😉


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 12:49 pm

      So true – there’s nothing worse than having to go around punching people in the face 😀


  91. LilLostGirl / Oct 21 2012 12:35 pm

    Reblogged this on little lost girl. and commented:
    The “F” word dilemma.


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 12:50 pm

      Thank you! 😉


      • LilLostGirl / Oct 21 2012 3:52 pm

        you’re very welcome love 🙂 and I probably should’ve said this before but congrats on being a freshly pressed and all!


  92. lazycritterstories / Oct 21 2012 12:56 pm

    My mother is just like your’s, a bit older though. She just celebrated her 91st birthday and she is really against swearing. She raised all 7 of us kids without swearing, a major accomplishment. I have a niece that is a police officer and she swears a lot, hazard of the job I guess. She tries not to do it in front of Grandma but it does slip out.
    Once when a bunch of my nieces and nephews were here something went wrong, I don’t remember what it was now but Mom said Shit! I thought the kids, all in their 20’s and 30’s were going to have a heart attack. Grandma doesn’t swear. It’s still one of those funny stories that you bring up at holiday get togethers.
    I don’t use any swear words in my writing because I write for kids, totally inappropriate but it doesn’t bother me in books if, like you said it is used only to strengthen a character and not just to show that the author knows how to spell swear words.


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 4:06 pm

      Your mother has lasted a long time, Norma! My mother hangs out with her sister-in-law who is 93. I think it’s the age and the ‘done thing’ from a time and place where swearing (particularly in women) was just not on. In the old day’s you’d get a good clip on the ear and now you may just get a ‘good talking to’. It’s so funny your mother swore once – I’m pretty sure the kids would talk about that for a long time to come.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting 😀


  93. Invisible Mikey / Oct 21 2012 1:53 pm

    Look at you, all FP and everything! Couldn’t happen to a nicer person. And I swear like a sailor when I watch TV news, or if it fits the style of a character I imagine in making up a story, but I don’t do it much on the blog. Well, sometimes I get all cute and write things like F*%# CAPITALISM. My Mom doesn’t swear, but she’s pretty quick with a “raspberry” if displeased.


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 4:15 pm

      Hey, Mikey! Thanks for coming over to say hello! I try not to watch the news – it’s just too depressing sometimes (and I have to wonder if what they show can actually be classified as ‘news’ half the time), but I do swear a lot when watching my football team get a flogging 😉

      I love the “raspberry” – I’ll have to remember that one 😀


  94. premenepebenyet / Oct 21 2012 1:54 pm

    I curse a lot. Sometimes involuntarily – just out of habit. It’s impossible to not be influenced by people around you. I, however, would use ‘eff’ instead of it’s full.

    I loved the post. Sure is a press worthy. 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 21 2012 4:09 pm

      Hey, Pen – I love the name To Infinity and Beyond – very cool!

      I totally understand the ‘eff’ thing because sometimes I’ll let out ‘frick’ and my kids (who are grown up) have a bit of a giggle.

      I’m so glad you liked the post – thanks for stopping by 😀


      • premenepebenyet / Oct 21 2012 8:46 pm

        haha, thanks. I don’t know why I love that phrase though. I’m not much of a fan of Mr. Buzz. It kinda just stayed on my mind, like forever. 🙂
        Your welcome. I really enjoyed reading it and some more. ^_^


  95. Pat / Oct 22 2012 12:03 am

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Nice post too!


  96. Deborah Hawkins / Oct 22 2012 3:53 am

    Great post. I don’t use the f word in my fiction because I feel it detracts from the tone of an upbeat novel. I laugh when I have to put it into my legal briefs because it seems so out of place there. But sometimes that’s what a witness says, and you have to be accurate. when writing for the court. Kind of funny. Don’t put it in fiction, but put it in legal briefs.

    I wouldn’t let my children watch South Park when they were little, not because of the content, but because I didn’t want them to pick up the language Little kids – I mean really little kids – who use the f word make it sound worse than it is.


    • diannegray / Oct 22 2012 7:44 am

      It sounds like you have a every interesting job, Deborah!

      I agree with you about the little kids – I’ve heard it sometimes in the shops and it’s very cringe-worthy!

      Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I’m following your blog now and looking forward to it 😀


  97. writehavoc / Oct 22 2012 4:01 am

    As a teacher who routinely has to wash the f-word off the boy’s toilet walls, I actually don’t have a problem with it. As long as it is used in context and with ‘feeling.’

    Now the ‘C’ word… I still can’t read that without wondering ‘why’ the writer couldn’t find a better word.

    Loverly picture of our Lizzy, btw.


    • diannegray / Oct 22 2012 7:46 am

      Thanks for dropping by to read and leave a comment. Boys love writing that word! I think the C word is hideous and don’t tolerate it at all (although my mother-in-law thinks the C word is ‘crap’) LOL!


  98. vandysnape / Oct 22 2012 4:06 am

    In my place, swearing something that is heavily frowned upon but slowly people are coming out of their shells and trying not to hide their emotions… Back when we were kids, whenever my mum hears my sister say an occasional swear word, she’d start her story about my grandfather who like your mother never in his life said a swear word. This post reminds me of that.
    Great post 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 22 2012 7:49 am

      Thanks, Vandhana (what a beautiful name!)

      I’m so glad you liked this post and it reminded you of that story 😀


  99. Habitual Moxie / Oct 22 2012 4:54 pm

    I haven’t laughed this hard from reading in a while! You are a great writer!!


    • diannegray / Oct 22 2012 5:37 pm

      Thank you so much! What a fantastic compliment 🙂


  100. escapingdarkness / Oct 23 2012 10:27 am

    What does your Mum think of the ‘C’ word that is now popping up on TV quite freely now. I dont swear at work much and when it slips out, Im shocked and apologise. I dont like swearing in front of elderly people, children or people I know that dont swear. I dont care if people swear. Im not a fan of the ‘C’ word. bf and I swear at home, generally when we are being silly and having a laugh. We also say un-PC jokes and other things to each other for a laugh too, because you cant generally anywhere else without getting into trouble. Kat 🙂


    • diannegray / Oct 23 2012 12:02 pm

      I don’t know what she thinks of it – or even if she knows of its existence. I’ve never known her to hear it, and if she has, I’m not even sure she would know what it meant. It’s something I’ve never discussed with her 😉 My Mother-in-law, on the other hand, thinks the ‘C’ word is ‘Crap’ (I’m never going to be the one who tells her she’s wrong)!

      I’m like you – swearing and un-PC language is kept in private conversations! 😀


  101. smilingtoad / Oct 23 2012 1:35 pm

    Here is a wee topic I believe many writers could identify with 😀 Very entertaining entry, too many grins to count, indeed. Fantastic blog, superlative writing, looking forward to discovering more. Loved it. Many ebullient cheers to you,

    Autumn Jade


  102. Krystiana Stacy Kelly / Oct 25 2012 3:59 am

    I haven’t put it in a book yet, but I sure use it enough in real life 🙂


  103. billyraychitwood1 / Nov 21 2012 11:29 am

    In my books, I’ve used the ‘uglies’ time and again…always twinge a bit as my dear departed Mom would not like me for it. But, then, now in her new ‘Place’ she knows how very silly we mortals can be by this and other things…

    My best to you and yours,

    Billy Ray


  104. robincoyle / Jan 11 2013 11:27 am

    The strongest swear words my dad ever says is, “Oh, stink.” Mom . . . never swears. I have a couple scenes loosely involving sex in my novel. As such, I will never ask my parents to read it.

    Great Freshly Pressed post, Dianne! Thanks for giving me the link.


    • diannegray / Jan 11 2013 1:56 pm

      No worries, Robin. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 😀


  105. eof737 / Feb 1 2013 6:09 pm

    I have no one censoring me so I’d use a word if it works… 🙂


    • diannegray / Feb 2 2013 6:47 am

      You’re very lucky, Eliz. Sometimes the word just has to go there to keep the story flowing and ‘real’ 😉


  106. Runoffwriter / Feb 10 2013 8:15 am

    OMGosh this is BRILLIANT!! So funny, so well written, and the illustrations- perfect!! So glad you pointed me here, Dianne! And you’ll notice I said, “Gosh,” not “God.”


    • diannegray / Feb 10 2013 8:54 am

      LOL! I’m so glad you liked this post. My mother is a classic! Thanks for the ‘gosh’ – I’m sure she would appreciate that 😀


  107. kford2007 / Feb 15 2013 2:56 pm

    I don’t use the word in my writing. I don’t like hearing people use it. The only time I say it is when I’m really,really angry or if Injure myself. I hear a lot of people use it like the word it means nothing. That irritates me. Your mom seems like a real gem. Reading your story put a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing.


    • diannegray / Feb 16 2013 6:26 am

      My mum certainly is a gem 😉 I’m really glad this post put a smile on your face! 😀


  108. Carrie Rubin / Feb 9 2016 6:28 am

    You know I can relate to this one. 🙂 I really had to forget about what people I know might think while reading my book and just write what I felt fit the story. If we worry what others will think, we risk stunting our story.



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