How to write better (or fewer?) swear words in English

Have you ever wondered why the British seem far more relaxed about using swear words in writing and speech than people from other English-speaking nations?

Many linguists are of the opinion that because swear words are used much more commonly in English-language film and TV programmes, on live radio and TV (hopefully after the watershed), and in general conversation, the words have gradually lost their rudeness and shock-value.

is it wrong to swear in writing

Can some swearing is speech and writing be justified?

Which could be a shame, in a way. If current swear words have lost their mojos, how next can we express ourselves with vigour and shock factor? But that’s probably for another article/thought piece.

It’s true that many millennials use rude language pretty freely wherever they live within the USA, Canada, Australia and other English language areas. But if you are the wrong side of 25 years old, you may well be influenced by older values that vary wildly from country to country.

UPDATE January 27, 2018 … Just published by academic Debbie Cameron on her Debuk blog: here is an extract:

“Asking whether women should swear is a bit like asking whether women should have children out of wedlock, or weigh more than seven stone: it’s a question designed for no other purpose than to allow people to air their prejudices. And those prejudices are, in most cases, socially selective. If a single mother on benefits peppers her discourse with ‘f*ck, tw*t and b*stard’, people say she’s ignorant, unable to express herself in any other way. If a stand-up comedian who went to public (private) school uses the same words in his act, people say it’s edgy and subversive.” Seems that people have serious double standards where swearing is concerned. Read this article – as well as the rest of mine here!

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St Patrick’s Day: celebrate great Irish writers with HTWB…

st patricks day on HTWB

“Irish improves a poet.” Sina Queyras

In honour of St Patrick’s Day, here are some of my favourite quotes by wonderful Irish poets and other writers … enjoy!

George Bernard Shaw

*Youth is wasted on the young.
*You use a glass mirror to see your face: you use works of art to see your soul.”
*I often quote myself; it adds spice to my conversations.
*Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. [Read more…]

Need some help with your creative writing? Grab these tools now

Writing creative material that’s good enough to grab publishers by the short hairs is always big challenge. Here, guest contributor Gloria Kopp shares her top tips on the tools she finds invaluable for getting manuscripts ready to, er, grab prospective publishers by the short hairs and with luck, lead to a publishing contract. (And best of all, these tools work for most other types of writing, too – for business, blogging, web content, and more.) Go, Gloria …

Essential proofreading and editing toolkit for creative writers

book writing help on HTWB

Writing a book, or thinking about it? Here are some tools you may find very helpful.

Everyone has always got that secret weapon hidden in their back pocket – that trick that helps them get the job done easily, quickly and properly. For creative writers, your secret weapon is right here; a cache of essential proofreading and editing tools to improve the quality of your writing, and turn it from something good to something spectacular. [Read more…]

How to write a really bad novel

Lovers of “illiterary” fiction no doubt will have heard of the Bulwer-Lytton competition, in which entrants have to write the most awful first line of a novel that they can possibly manage. This is in tribute to the late Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose rather dark and stormy novel, Paul Clifford, (as I’m sure you remember) began like this:

small__3459918218“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

 –Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

I understand that the competition is still going strong, so do check out the Bulwer-Lytton website to catch up on the latest pearls of awfulness in various types of fiction. [Read more…]

Children’s books? Sooo hard to get a publisher. But wait – there’s hope

Hundreds if not thousands of people have great ideas for children’s books and many of them are absolutely brilliant.

Trouble is, there is so much good stuff around that in the first instance, children’s book publishers AND relevant literary agents have the pick of crop dropped into their laps and can afford only to take on what they think will be not just good, but utterly sensational.

Children's books? Sooo hard to get a publisher. But wait - there's hope

The books are all based on the adventures of her dogs

Plus, these publishers think, at least, that they know what’s fashionable where in the children’s books market and to an extent can influence that according to their own whims. It’s a tough, tough market to crack.

However in this exchange between me and a friend whose friend has written some amazing stories for 7-10 year-olds, there may be light at the end of the tunnel…

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The Machines Have Won – a scary short story for Christmas

Today we welcome American author and family history expert writer / researcher Tom Bartlett. Originally from Boston MA he now lives with his family in Milton Keynes (my UK home town) and very kindly has shared this funny-yet-slightly-scary original story … a writer’s perfect nightmare. And if you know the Boston MA area, you will recognize some of the places Tom names.

The Machines Have Won - a scary short story for Christmas

The machines have won … but have they, really?

Cameron tilted his head forward from its reclined position in the driver’s seat, and lifted the remote in his left hand up to his line of vision. With unhurried ease, he moved his right hand to the remote and punched the blue button. [Read more…]

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