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Swearing About My Dialog

One of the challenges I face as contemporary romance author is writing believable dialog. This is especially true when the conflict has intensified. The characters are feeling the pressure. Those are the times when an, “oh my goodness gracious me,” simply won’t cut it. However, I don’t want to take it too far and risk offending my readers. I’m fully aware that some readers have limits about what language is and isn’t appropriate for them.

When necessary, my characters will say an occasional, “damn,” or “hell.” Oftentimes, it’s enough to make the point. There may be occasions when a character may exclaim, “son of a bitch.” This usually happens when they’re suddenly shocked or surprised. It can also happen when they’re referring to a male villain who’s done something outrageous. My villains aren’t meant to be nice. They’re supposed to make other characters angry, and dialog is the most effective way for them to express their anger. It’s also the kind of language we hear in real life when someone is angry.

There are, however, places where I draw the line. First and foremost is using the Lord’s name as a curse word. While I may not be overtly religious, I still believe in God, so to me, it’s disrespectful. This is why you’ll never hear any of my characters, not even the villains, saying the, “G-damn,” word, or using the names, “Jesus,” or “Christ,” as curse words.

The other word I won’t use is the “f-bomb.” Some readers simply find it too offensive. This can be tricky, as there are some situations when even a “what the hell,” may not be strong enough.

For example, in The Journey, Jeremey, has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. When his wife, Cassie, is told about his disappearance, she responds with, “What the —” Another character cuts her off before she can complete her sentence. Was she about to say, “What the hell?” Perfectly understandable response. Or, was she about to use a different word? It’s up to the reader to decide.

I realize there are some folks out there who may even find the word, “damn,” offensive, but I simply can’t be all things to all readers. I’m also the first to admit that my novels aren’t for everyone. I write sensual romance, which includes a few bedroom scenes. Those scenes are included to enhance the story, and because today’s readers expect to see them.

Marina Martindale


The Journey is available on Amazon,, and other online booksellers


Marina Martindale writes and edits all of her blog posts herself. She does not use AI software or images of any kind. No part of this blog may be used or reproduced or transmitted in any form, or used in any matter by AI, without the express written consent Good Oak Press, LLC. Requests for permission must be addressed to Good Oak Press, LLC, P.O. Box 51244, Denton, TX 76206-1244

Posted in Marina's Novels, Writing