*parental discretion advised
I've thought about how to bring this up--and on a rainy, gloomy day, why not.
The first time I read the word "fuck" I think I was in middle school. A precocious reader, I first came across it Catcher in the Rye, but never bothered to look it up. I read it again maybe a few months later at Christmas. Dad got a book from Mom and since I'd read all the books given to me for Christmas I picked up his, The Summer of '42, about a group of friends, boys, who have one last summer before going off to World War II. It isn't a summer of innocence. I believe the book was a movie tie-in. One of the boys has a last fling with a neighbor lady who is missing her husband or sex or maybe wants to "help" the young man before he leaves. The plot was a one-night stand, about the time it took to read the book. But what really hit me was the word f--- used not as a strong curse word or boys shooting off their mouths in the schoolyard but as a VERB.
That shocked me.
Then I went downstairs and pointed it out to my dad, saying I think they got this wrong. What I meant was was that I thought it was anachronistic--out of place for time period. You see, I thought kids MY AGE had come up with that word. Well, Dad put me in my place. His generation came up with that word.
Now-a-days you can see it in print fairly common. In Going Bovine by Libba Bray it was everywhere--like spilled milk, flowing thru the pages. In pg-13 movies it's standard dialog--'cause ya know young kids are just punks and can't really talk all proper! I find the ef word mostly a weak devise, non-literary, and inane in its overuse.
But to be fair, I've HAD to use it myself.
When I have, I try to be very thoughtful and judicious. Is it there for a reason, to set a character, to make a pt.? (I mean rarely does it move the plot along, so I'm not giving it that much significance.) It can either stop a reader or pull them forward.
Language is pretty important to me, words are the bones that hold my story up, so I think about them a lot. I let swear words and most words flow when I'm laying down a first draft, but eventually I'll go back and give them all a second look, and 9 times out of 10 the ef word will get edited out. Not always. I said judiciously, not prudiciously.
If there are readers of my blog out there--and there must be a few as I'm getting about 200 hits a month (I use a setting that doesn't track my own views--haha)--can you tell me about your experience first time reading the ef word or as writers how you decide to use/incorporate it into your writing. Thanks!