*there will be swearing in this post. Look away if you do not approve
Like the title says, let's have a damn chat about swears (see what I did there?)
Specifically I want to talk about swears in fantasy (or sci-fi, or maybe even dystopian) novels.
If you're writing contemporary, or even paranormal or anything where your setting is the "here and now", well, your swears are already created for you. They're the ones we use every day (well, that some of us use every day *furtive eyes*)
BUT, what if you're writing a novel that doesn't take place here? What if it's 300 years in the future, or a fantasy world or wherever?
Fuck is probably not going to cut it.
It's important to remember, though, when making up swears, that you don't just make up any word to replace Fuck.
I mean, you can substitute Frem, or whatever, but it will hold a lot more believability if you pick a word that has actual meaning in the world.
When writing Glimpse, I needed some swears. Sure, I could have used fuck and shit (and there are some damns and hells) but it would have been a little lazy of me. My story is not on earth as we know it.
Pier, the main character, lives on an island and their whole culture is based around the sea. So, though shit may still be able to work, would a sea-related curse be even more believable?
The short answer is Yes. Also, creating world specific swears is a quick and easy way to fill out your world-building.
So, for Glimpse, I brainstormed with Twin and Brother and Also Hannah and Teebore, and the two main swears I came up with were:
Both of them are related to the sea, or ships or whatever. They're believable and they work.
Also, if you plan to use any form of God as an expletive, it's important to take into consideration whether or not God even plays a part in your milieu.
In Glimpse, Pier's culture worships a sea goddess called Mear.
So instead of God-Damn, we have Mear Damn You.
Here's another example. In Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, the MCs are typically dragon riders (holy HELL I want to read those again RIGHT NOW). Even if they aren't dragon riders, all their lives revolve around dragons and fire lizards.
The swears they use?
In Across the Universe, the swear used on the ship is Frex, which seems like a no-nonsense word, until you find out that the letters FRX appear on certain areas of the ship. If you spend generations looking at those letters, it's completely believable that Frex could rise out of that.
Of course, all of this is relative to whether or not your character would even use swears. Pier most definitely would.
Kiersten White's Evie does, but in an adorable, believable, way: Bleep.
You should first and foremost do what is right for your character, even if it goes against your own beliefs. If you force a character to conform against their nature, then the character will read false and weak. And that's something we all want to avoid.
So, give me your damn thoughts. What are some of the swears you've used?