Language in novels.

Depending what you write a certain level of language is acceptable or expected. For instance in a regency romance no one is going to use the F word. Some writers might describe what they would like a character to do with the horse they rode in on in much more flowery terms.

However, in a police or military related novel and horror more colourful language is acceptable and expected.   You can pretty much expect the seven words you can’t say on television.

Some people are shy about using certain words in their writing. In a gritty crime novel “OH PHOOEY” just doesn’t work after you have just found the grotesquely dismembered body of your best friend or lover.

I don’t use a lot of really disgusting language in my books. I use the basics like ass-hole, shit and I am not afraid to drop a few F-bombs where it would be necessary to emote like that where applicable.  Two terms I refuse to use in life or writing –one starts with c and rhymes with runt and the other rhymes with brother-trucker. They are crude and totally violate my liberal sensibilities.  I would rather find more descriptive phraseology that has the same meaning and does the job.

As far as talking dirty when it comes to those steamy sex scenes I don’t really do that. I am a tad shy but like my fellow writer and friend Eileen, I get the point across creatively without being crude. Ellen stated that she writes love scenes like she did when she was twenty five. It was clean but had the same effect that purple prose would have. I blushed and still headed for a cold shower. It was tasteful and entertaining. I carry the same attitude with mine.  Explicit dirty language is fantastic for Erotica and may be the trashy novels with Fabio on the cover. My books don’t center on sex or the type of prose used –although I have heard people wished I would ramp up the sex and throw out a few more colorful expletives.

Do use language appropriate to the genre, and age level.

Don’t use language you aren’t comfortable with.

And again HAVE FUN!



  1. Pingback: LEVELS OF LANGUAGE IN NOVELS BY KAREN VAUGHAN | Dellani's Choice - Book Reviews

  2. You and I think a lot alike on this. I won’t use that particular C word either, but I might have used “brother-trucker” once, I’m not sure. Probably not. If I won’t say it myself, I won’t use it in a story, no matter the level of cursing the character might have.

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