Originally posted on Just Contemporary Romance, June 2017.
I have to start by confessing a particularly bad habit of mine… I swear like a sailor. Actually, to be more accurate, I swear like a Quentin Tarantino film. It’s bad, and I promise I’m working on it. In my defense, certain words communicate the emotion better than the watered-down versions. And certain words just feel so good on the tongue.
With that in mind, you’d think writing a character who is deliberate about using alternative swear words would be difficult for me. In The Wrong Kind of Compatible, Cassie swears a lot (like me), but she substitutes alternative swear words. Not because she minds the swear words. Her reasons have more do with a little competition with her brothers (who have kids) to see who can be the most creative with the alternatives.
As a mama who struggles to tame this tendency around her kids, I love the idea of a character who tempers her habit for her nieces and nephews. However, I didn’t want Cassie to sound too prim or too “perfect mommy,” and so I had a goal with the alternatives.
Goal: funny but not too cutsie (which is a tricky balance to strike).
The other tricky part is coming up with word combinations which are obviously being used as swear words. There were a few combos I tried which, in context, I think would throw readers because it’ll take a minute to figure out that it’s a curse.
I thought you might get a kick out of some of the ones I came up with.
- Cheese and krakens (couldn’t help myself. the geek in me rejoiced at this one.)
- Goodnight nurse
- Fish in a barrel
- Shut the truck up
- Sure as shootin’
- Honest to gravy
- Son of a nutcracker
- Mother trucker
- What the fedora
- Gorgonzola on a stick
- Cracker jacks
- Heavens to megatron (this was mergatroid, but the geek in me had to change it)
- Bull honkey
- Work her corn nuts off
- Dang rabbit
- Fraggle rock
I mean, can you read those, or picture using them, without giggling? I can’t, which made them a lot of fun to write. I didn’t get to incorporate all of them, but I certainly tried.
How about you? Do you have any entertaining swear word alternatives?