Saturday, February 10, 2007

"Fuck" in writing

(All words in this entry used de dicto- i.e. of the word, not the meaning- are in quotes. Thus, there is much mentioning of "fuck" but none of fucking. Sad, I know.)

Y'know, I rarely say anything worse then "damn," "sucks," or "crap"... but somehow the word "fuck" insinuates itself far too much in my writing. That does, of course, heavily depend on what character I'm depicting.

But I think the overuse of "fuck" is more comical than offensive. Also, to me, it's an easy way of characterization.

Example:
"His tone of voice when he said, 'Yeah, right,' clearly indicated his incredulousness that Tom would actually do it." versus the more succinct "'Yeah, fuckin' right,' he said, smirking."

I think those two sentences send the same message. But maybe I'm wrong.

I also use the word to infer a character's less-than-stellar vocabulary.

Examples:
"Scared as fuck", "what the fuck", "fuck if I know why", "one fuck of a risk".

I've also used it in POV narratives as a defensive ploy. A character may excuse a dumb lie by telling the reader: "First thing that popped in my head, so fuck off." (You could also see it as the author's defense of a subpar idea, though I would never tell readers of my writing to fuck off.)

I also use it to show surprise. I admit that I like the sound of the word- it's a harsh vocalization. (A comparable circumstance is my preference for the word "cock"... but-*ahem*-back to the fucking topic.) And the literal meaning makes it an effective attention-getter. It also conveys emphasis and elicits a reaction from the reader, whether she is offended by the use of the word, amused, etc.

So, like most Americans, I rarely use the word for its intended purpose with its intended meaning. If you read the word only with its literal meaning, I don't mean for it to be offensive. And don't get confused. If you can't exchange the word "fuck" with "lick" (or any other verb, for that matter) without it making sense, then I'm not talking about sex.

Examples:
"Fuck! Fucking stupid table...." does not mean "Lick! Licking stupid table...." but "I'm gonna fuck you" does mean "I'm gonna lick you."

But sometimes I may intentionally use the word ambiguously.

Example:
Okay. I'm tired of this topic. Time for me to take a fucking break.

:)

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