Please welcome author Cheryl Robinson to my blog. Cheryl is on a virtual book tour promoting her new book, Ex-Ray, which came out January 26th.
To Curse or Not to Curse in Fiction
Most of us know someone who can’t get through a full sentence without using a four-letter word. And even though I don’t curse, I cannot say that I never have.
Every time I start writing a new book, at some point I find myself Googling using profanity in fiction, knowing full well that at least one of my characters will curse, Isn’t that one of the benefits of writing—freedom of expression? Why should I deny my characters that same right?
Maybe I’m thinking about my mother’s Red Hatter group and don’t want to embarrass her. After all, for years whenever I finished a book, my mother’s first question was always the same: “Will the Red Hatters be able to read it?” After my sixth book, I started saying no.
Cursing is a part of my DNA. My father openly cursed without a problem and regularly listened to comedian Richard Pryor. Although he always waited until his children went to bed. One night, however, I didn’t go to sleep. I was nine at the time and listened from the stairway. I had to hold in my laughter. I didn’t know who that man was whose voice was coming through the speakers, but everything he said was funny to me. Richard Pryor soon became someone I snuck and listened to. I even memorized the set he did that dealt with the Patty Hearst kidnapping.
The four-letter words that Richard Pryor used saved my play cousin and me from being beat up after school. Actually, the hit was placed on her, but I couldn’t let anyone beat up my play cousin. I loved her, and she had already saved my life by pushing me out of the way of a moving car as we were walking home from school, so I owed her, too.
It had circulated all day that two girls were planning to beat up my play cousin. I had never been in a fight, then or now, but I was determined to defend her. So, what did I do as the large crowd descended upon us? I cursed those two girls out, and they were visibly scared. Words truly do have power. I watched as their eyes enlarged and their mouths dropped. I was a very quiet child, so I know they weren’t expecting that. Clad in my plaid uniform and loafers, I had transformed into Richard Pryor in front of Gesu Catholic School. And that’s when my love for comedy and my affinity for four-letter words first started.
Being around comedians when I was in my early twenties and hosted a weekly comedy show that featured Faizon Love, Downtown Tony Brown, and Mike Bonner, to name a few, fostered my affinity for profanity.
I never want to use unnecessary profanity in my writing. I never want to have a character curse if it doesn’t add to the dialogue. I only want my characters to use profanity if that’s really what they’d say at the time.
So, now, instead of Googling using profanity in fiction, I read the dialogue the way I originally wrote it, leaving the profanity in and then removing it. Then I ask myself if having that word adds anything to the character’s dialogue—the only thing it would add is realism. If the answer is no, I try to remove it. It’s in my DNA, so sometimes I do have to wrestle with myself.
How do you as the reader feel when you read profanity in fiction?
In this journey into second-chance love, author Cheryl Robinson invites us to ponder whether we would rekindle a romance with someone who had broken a promise to forsake all others.
Meet Ray and Sarita Saint. In 1987, they pledged to love, honor, and cherish each other until death. When Ray goes missing a year later, Sarita wonders whether he’s dead or alive. While she was dreaming of their happily ever after, Ray was exploring greener pastures, a new relationship. Sarita—a virgin until marriage—took her vows seriously and believed Ray did, too. Instead, he left their marriage and their life in Detroit to reinvent himself. Sarita always held out hope that he would return one day. And he does. It’s twenty-seven years later, and Ray is determined to find his one true love. What he discovers has him question everything he thought he knew about Sarita, as well as himself.
About the Author
Cheryl Robinson has the Until Ray trilogy set in her beloved hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Cheryl currently resides in Central Florida. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University. This is her eleventh book.
You can purchase Ex-Ray on Amazon.