Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Swear words: To use or not to use by Nana Prah


A huge thanks to Alissa for letting me take over her blog for the day. It was very generous of her knowing how much promoting she has to do for her newly released book The Blog Affair, Yay!

I used to be the girl who tisked when someone uttered a swear word. In high school and college my best friend used enough of them for the both of us. I’m pretty sure the transition from being a profanity virgin to slut occurred when I became a nurse. I’ve only met one nurse who never cussed. She was sweeter than candy - golly, gosh, and oh bother were her words of choice.

Some people interject swear words in a sentence as a descriptive word of sorts.

Example: This is some f*^#ing delicious toast.

Is that really necessary? Not in my opinion, but to each his or her own. For me they should be used to express extreme displeasure or fascination. Something along the lines of:

Pick this s%@t up from my front yard before I shove my foot up your f*^#ing ass.

I’d say someone was serious about getting their yard cleaned. By the way ass is not a cuss word in my world, unless you’re hanging around children, then I’d curtail its use.

I’ve noticed books have increased their use of swear words. Sometimes when I’m reading, all of a sudden the hero cusses. The odd thing is that it doesn’t pull me out of the scene because often times the author uses it well. Sometimes these words are the best ones to use. No other would give as much of an impact.

You scared me.
You scared the feces out of me.
You scared the s%@t out of me.

Now you tell me who was more frightened.

Swear words should be used sparingly in a romance. I’ll give more leeway to chick lit. It should convey something extreme. If there’s a character with a vulgar personality, then the cuss words should flow, because the reader would be shocked if he or she didn’t use them.

In my debut novel Love Through Time, by golly goodness, you’re darn tootin’ I use swear words, but as I advise above, it’s rare and usually pops out during one of the heroine’s fight scenes. Here is a blurb and excerpt for your f*^#ing reading pleasure (I couldn’t resist).

Tell me what you think about swear words in romance and chick lit.



Defending her family – no problem. Recalling past lives – maybe just a small problem. Taking a chance on love again – well…

Jasmine Gibson has her world turned upside down when she meets gorgeous Sean Taylor. He’s the first man she’s been attracted to since her fiancé dumped her two years ago. But when the disturbing daydreams start, Jasmine begins to fear that her actions in a past life may have finally caught up with her.

Sean finds it impossible to stay away from Jasmine even though he can’t shake the inexplicable feeling of betrayal, simmering deep inside him every time he sees her.

To complicate things, someone is out to hurt Jasmine and every time she and Sean are together, the police have to be called. Even if Jasmine can make Sean trust her, the two of them may not stay alive long enough to enjoy their love this time around.


“Damn, Sis, sometimes I forget about your ferocity,” Ed said. “Did you have to break his wrist?”

Jasmine glared at him. “Was he answering my question? Would they have been merciful to Mom and Dad? They came here to beat our parents down!” she snapped, but she knew she would feel guilty once the adrenaline and anger wore off.

“Damn,” Ed repeated.

She glanced at Sean out of the corner of her eye. He was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. She couldn’t know for certain what he was thinking at this point, but she was sure she had a pretty good idea. Even through her angry haze she felt the urge to comfort him, but she resisted, knowing that if she went to touch him she’d be rebuffed. Comfort would come later.

I knew I should have left him at the restaurant. She turned towards Edward. “Do you think the same Venge could have pushed Carly off the cliff in Stowe or had her pushed?”

“It’s possible, but unlikely. I don’t see the connection. Carly can be bossy and aggressive sometimes, but not enough for someone to want to hurt or even kill her. And Mom and Dad are good people. It doesn’t make sense.” Ed shook his head. “If it had been you, I wouldn’t be as surprised.”

She nodded with total understanding. “I don’t like it.”

“Me neither. We just have to keep our eyes open. Hopefully there’ll be no more attacks or accidents.”

“Yeah, but I’d feel better if I knew who was behind this,” she said. Something in her gut was telling her it wasn’t over yet.

As they waited for the police, Jasmine spent the time thinking, pacing, and avoided looking at Sean. She knew what she would see if she looked at his face, a mixture of horror and disbelief. The same look she would see in the mirror after she calmed down.


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Nana Prah was born in Ghana, West Africa, raised in the US and currently resides in Ghana where she loves her job as a writer and nurse educator. She has been writing since she can remember (in her journal) and has been an avid reader of romance novels since the eighth grade. She has finally been able to utilize the years and years of inadvertent research into writing her own romance novels where love always conquers all.

Find her at: Blog
Twitter: @NanaPrah
Facebook: Nana Prah, Author

LOVE THROUGH TIME is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon until the 25th of November.


  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Alissa. I enjoyed writing the post. I love using swear words.

  2. It's a pleasure, Nana! Great to host a fellow Decadent author :-)

  3. Great Post, Nana and Alissa! Swears words is a hard call. My one young adult ms has swear words. However, my agent had me quiet them down which wasn't realistic in my mind how teens converse, but better for young readers, I guess. Then my second YA has hardly none...
    Loved---Love Through Time! Looking forward to Nana's next novel!

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Teenagers these days speak like they invented swear words.

  4. great post, Nana. I'm cringing here,. Guilty of everything above, except for sweet cuss words :)

    1. Lol, Georgia. Sweet cuss words, I like the label.

  5. Nice post, Nana. I have a bit of a potty mouth around people who I know. I think it depends on the genre. A sweet romance and YA may not warrant swear words. Although I agree with Cathrina that teenagers love to swear, I think it makes them think they are grown up, LOL. My characters swear up a storm when needed. I also have them swear in Italian, you can away with a lot when the translation isn't all that clear :)

    1. Thanks Debbie. I just learned to say a swear word in Spanish, I learned it from a blog interview. Nobody I know speaks Spanish so I use that work a lot.
      Nat from your Twin Flames is always a second away from cussing. She is one of my favorite characters ever.

  6. Really entertaining post, Nana. I grew up in a sane environment. My mum would have none of it. When I came to the UK, I couldn't believe how frequently swear words were used in corporate offices.

    I find it absurd. My kids know the use of swear words isn't allowed. However, I have been tempted to use 'ass' from watching some hilarious TV programs. My kids tell me off!

    My character swear lightly like 'go to hell!', 'damn it!' nothing as adventurous as the use of the 'f' word! That's a no go area! LOL!

    1. Lol. I gasp, Stella. I wonder if your Mom would wash out your characters mouths with soap.

  7. I also think cussing should be used sparingly unless the character is a swear friend. Nice post Nana.

    1. Thanks Sheena-kay. I'm glad you could stop by.

  8. Interesting post, Nana.

    I must say much as I think of myself as quite liberal, I do have some conservatism in me. And I do hate swear words even in books! Well, the extreme ones. I try to get the kids to stay off those words but they do pop up in their arguments and fights (too much of watching American movies)