Ever notice how many times we accept something we previously rejected, merely because we’ve gotten used to it? Take swearing, for example. When I was growing up, I never heard my mother swear because she just didn’t. Ergo, I didn’t. Neither did my brothers or sisters – at least not without getting punished!
Years have passed. I’ve heard some of the filthiest words come from the mouths of some of the most wonderful people God created. Did that make me more determined to set a good example for them and not swear? Hell, no! I mean, Heck, no! Because I loved these people, I unintentionally picked up their habit of swearing on occasion. Sometimes many occasions…
While typing my upcoming novel, I had the characters speak the way I envisioned they would. There were quite a few times their emotions got the better of them and they cursed. Fine. That was the way these “people” spoke.
I finally finished re-writing some corrections that my critiquers suggested and started reading my novel out loud. Eww! Something didn’t sound right, and it wasn’t the description of the scenery they saw on their bus trip. It was the way they talked. More specifically, the way they cursed.
My good friend Katie (whom I’ve never heard swear), upon hearing that I was probably going to change the curse words all to “darn it,” brilliantly thought to seek out wordsmiths from her Facebook group of friends. I absolutely LOVE their suggestions. I have changed my characters’ tendencies to swear, with one major exception. And you’ll have to read the book when it’s released to find out.
And because changing the book’s profanity to nicer words didn’t make a bit of difference to the storyline, I’ve changed my plans for Lent: I’m going to be more conscientious about swearing and hopefully change completely to never swearing again. If you’re interested in some of the cute, funny, appropriate words one can use to express a variety of emotions, here you go! (The following was taken from the Tim Hawkins Handbook of Alternative Cuss Words)
MIFFED: shucks, rats, gosh, shizzle, toot, crapola, turd, sheesh, flippin, phooey, ticked, heck, shoot, jeepers, gez, crud, dag, dang, darn, darnit, bleep, booger, snot, wing nut, nerts, crimeny, cripes, crepes, doo-doo, caca
EXASPERATED : good gravy, good grief, gadzooks, jackwagon, bull snot, fiddle faddle, fiddlesticks, crud muffin, cotton pickin, malarkey, mylanta, what the hey, bucket head, shucky darn, dad burnit, dag nabbit, con sarnit, confound it, doggonit, dad blame it, dad gummit, dad blast it
I’M NOT HAVING IT: great googley moogley, great caesar’s ghost, geeze Louise, mother Francis, Judas priest, shut your piehole, kiss my grits, heavens to betsy, bolshevik, what the what, what the devil, rasa-frasa-rasa-frasa, jumpin’ Jehoshaphat, booger snot, fartknocker, mother-of-pearl, bull twinkies, gee willikers, h-e-double-hockey-sticks, fahrvergnugen, shut the front door, suck eggs
SON-OF-A: biscuit biscuit eater, Baptist preacher, bacon bit, nutcracker, motherless goat
HORSE: hockey, puckey, feathers, pitdoty
FOR: heaven’s sake, the love of pete, pete’s sake, cryin out loud
Othes submitted by email are: shucky darn, crimeinitaly (or crimenettly), mercy sakes, slickernsnot, heavens to mergatroid, gosh dang, garsh, jiminy cricket, jumpin jimeny, Martha Stewart, Kelly Clarkson, cheese and rice, bother, holy guacamole