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Thursday, April 7, 2011


Got you to look!

Isn’t that what the F-word is all about? Getting attention.

 Problem is — the word is so overused, no one cares anymore. Overuse has diminished this word’s power.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to drop the f-bomb on occasion. What made me realize the word had lost it's power, was the day I cut my finger slicing carrots and couldn't find my keys to go get it stitched up.

I must have sounded like a cannon battalion shooting off F-bombs. My eleven year-old daughter, called to me from her bedroom. “Nice mouth, Mom! You have a large vocabulary, use it,” and slammed the door. I was stunned. She didn't even bother to come see if I was all right. I stood there dripping blood on the kitchen floor, finger wrapped in a wad of paper towels. Waiting.

No one came.

Except the dog.

And he didn’t bring my keys.

Guess what I was thinking?

Later, when I had finally made it to the emergency room and sat waiting for my turn, I thought about this word. I knew I have always preferred not to use the F-word when I’m writing. Particularly, when writing for Young Adults. Most teens use the word more frequently than I do. I knew it wouldn't be a problem for them. Rather, I knew it was my problem. I like to make up curses.

I'm good at it. Like Shakespeare.

I should be honest here. I've used the F-word once, in my first YA, and only because I’d chosen to do so for a specific reason. I wanted to show my character evolving and changing, becoming hard and edgy, due to the circumstances of her journey.

I thought about how when you say the F-word out loud, you can say it low or shout it. You can snarl or soften it. Make it mean different things by the way you say it.

On paper though, it’s hard. Angry. And carries intense meaning.

On paper, it looks just like what it is.


Now, I try to use it wisely.


  1. I loved this Joyce, I found it funny and quite accurate. I especially liked the part about your daughter :) I know I overuse the F bomb, but I like the idea of using it wisely.
    Miss you!!!!

  2. Excellent post. You were so brave to go there, and once you did, you really did it justice. Waving (hello!) from a fellow writer and A to Z-er.

  3. Thanks Kathleen and Catherine. Sometimes, you just have to put it out there!

  4. Great post, Joyce. I didn't get around to many blogs today. It's so true. i read novels with them and when done right, the word sounds natural. Like with everything in writing it's all in the execution!

  5. Loved your post, Joyce. We all through the cussing phase..... You did the whole topic absolute justice.

  6. Very funny! Oddly enough, my first two para romance novels featured a lot of cursing and were aimed at a much older crowd. I ended up with a lot of teens (female and oddly enough, male!) reading the novels, which made me realize there are probably a lot more teens with ereaders than people my mama's age ... lol ... Lizzy Ford

  7. I knew SOME bold soul was going to do the F word...I was sorely tempted and even mention that here: http://www.tobyneal.net/
    F*ck is just so many things- adjective, noun and verb!

    But your daughter's right too.

  8. Sometimes that word can express so much!

  9. Great post. I also touched briefly upon this word and other F words in my post for this day.

    Hope your finger healed well. Nothing worse than a lame finger for a typing writer :-)