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Name Calling


F this and You B**ch
I began writing a book, with children in mind, when I first got put on the meds. I started wondering how a child would consider death, and they are interested, in the beginning, but it turns out it sets their mind up - so they have to be kept away from it. Plus cussing changes from culture to culture, demographics have a lot to do with complexes, and the way a mind can be caged by trigger points.
Unfortunately to me cussing seems like the easy way of getting around things. Though I do use a little cussing in my series, I don't turn to it cause I feel it is overused, and there are better ways of writing then saying F this and You B**ch, and such. I could easily go that route, but I feel cussing isn't always the answer.
Of course it's not always the answer but in the right context it's the only answer.

Among my various works there are angry footballers, Irish mafia, detectives and criminals under intense pressure and pillaging Vikings. They all swear - a lot - and it would seem odd to my readers if they didn't.


toujours gai, archie
When you have antagonists traveling together--I know I said this already--it really isn't going to be about the name calling, it's going to be about behavior. This is even more true when you consider how you are going to show them getting along later, under the benign influence of the MC. If it's name-calling, then all that happens is ... well, nothing. The name calling stops, which maybe the reader notices and maybe they don't.

But if the characters *behave* differently, that can be shown. Consider, just for consideration, that name-calling might not be all that far removed from cussing. Both can--depending on the story, of course--be little more than a shortcut and a lazy one at that. A form, in fact, of telling rather than showing.

If you buy that, then maybe you need only a couple of terms each, and use them sparingly, and let the actions carry most of the weight. Also, when you do choose a term or phrase (phrases afford more room to be imaginative), look for variety of tone. One insult might be cutting in the eyes of one character, but another character only finds it funny or weak. Maybe one character's insults are so dang obscure or idiosyncratic, she has to explain them, letting you use it for comic relief. Maybe one character is too simple or too kind to know when they've been insulted. Yet another character might adopt the demeaning term as a badge of honor, taking it on as a nickname, much to the irritation of the one casting the stone. And so on.