However, as I've been editing the next book in the series though, the criticism has played in my head, not because I agree with it, nor because I value one person's opinion about the worth of my words over my own character's personality. No, it's the assumption that one word is less worthy of being included in a story than another that bugs me. Because that's the thing, these are my character's words, not mine.
In the Daughter of Fire series, Evie barely says a "bad" word. When she does, it's because things are going so wrong that she has little other choice. Even still, for her words like freak hold more power and pain than the words fuck or shit.
In Son of Rain, Clay has a little bit more of a potty mouth because he was raised by a single father in a man's word doing work that requires stronger words than "Oh dear" or "Fiddlesticks."
Declan is by far the worst of any of my characters. There are whole sentences which are comprised almost entirely of swear words. Like this one: “Fucking shitter of a fucking bastard of a fucking car!”
Does he say it to shock and awe the reader? No, he says it because it's who he is. He's an Aussie male, raised in a lower/middle class family, and it's ingrained in him to swear. It's part of who he is, it's part of what makes him tick, just as much as Evie's phoenix qualities and heat make her who she is. And I won't ever apologize for that. More than that, his swearing is an extension of his psyche. When things are working for him, his swearing lessens. Not through any conscious decision he makes (except under certain circumstances which make sense when you read the books), but because the happier he is, the less frustrated he is and frustration (and sorrow) are what make him swear. The particular teaser in question is taken from a time when he has just found out the worst of the worst possible information. Some people would beg for ignorance when it came to facing the levels of pain he's dealing with, but he welcomes in the pain because he knows that the truth will lead him to the things he wants.
That said, maybe the word fuck offends you. If so, that's your prerogative and you have every right to your opinion and also to stay away from books that use the word. What you don't have a right to do is lessen someone else's value by saying that the inclusion of the words fuck, shit, dick, pussy, or even cunt (and I dislike that word so it's probably one of the few times you'll ever see me type it) makes their novel somehow irrelevant and unworthy because they use a word you don't personally agree with. Who doesn't like shouting a hearty FUCK! when they stub their little toe against a door jam (because seriously, that shit bloody hurts!)?
That probably came out a little more guns blazing in defense of Declan than I intended it to. It was meant to be a defense of all words. Words are power after all. Anyone who claims a superiority in writing should know that better than anyone. I say get offended by words that are offensive. Words that are used to hurt groups of people, not the words that you personally don't like.
More than that, don't use your words, your power, to belittle other authors or their readers. Because that's the thing that annoyed me the most about the insinuation that swear words somehow lessen the intelligence of a work of fiction. It isn't the fact that it's insulting me and my characters, but that it's insulting my readers.
And you know what, that's an insult I just won't bear.
Finally, just because I really do like the versatility of the word, let's have a grammar lesson, shall we?