Nope, you just don’t do it. Now there are plenty of folks out there debating whether this should be so, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. I’m fine with no cursing. I kind of like it.
However. Sometimes, when writing my rough around the edges West Virginia characters, they get an itch to cuss. It’s just natural among many of the men in rural Appalachia. Ladies, not so much, and things like the “f” word are relative newcomers, but so many of those other curse words are just a mode of expression.
So how do I get around it? Thus far I’ve come up with a handful of euphemisms, but I’m hoping you can help me with some more suggestions.
I’ve used “woods colt” to describe an illegitimate child (I really like that one). But, of course, the word that replaces (bas____) might also be used as a pejorative and not a descriptive word.
I’ve also cut my cussers off mid-stream as in, “He’s a real son of . . .” and there’s always the option of just saying, “He cursed.” But somehow a character saying, “Oh piddle,” doesn’t have the same effect as, “Sh__.”
And while I don’t say those words myself (preferring piddle, poop, pooh, fiddlesticks, etc.), Clint Simmons and his boys surely do. And much worse.
So what do you think? How can I let my characters speak freely without breaking the no cursing rule?