Frankly my dear...

I'm not a fan of profanity. In my own speech I prefer the tamer, kid-friendly words such as: oh man! dang it! oh my goodness! what the heck? (A dear childhood friend of mine says oh mylanta! I've always loved that one.) Even before I had kids, these were my go to words. And now, around my kids, I even shy away from some of those.

I've always had the opinion that someone who uses a lot of profanity in their speech lacks the vocabulary to express themselves otherwise. And writers who need excessive f-bombs, and OMG's (the actual words/phrases, not the substitutes in my examples) also either don't have the vocabulary to convey emotion, or aren't being creative enough to find ways around the words. 

On the flip side, I have also read books and seen movies that excessively use the tame words in place of profanity.  While it's great that the writer doesn't use swear words, it can be just as distracting to the reader or viewer.

That being said, some very good books and movies use profanity in context. And they use it well. Maybe the character uses profanity, or the situation (such as the war front) breeds it. I'm not saying that I agree with it or that they get a pass, but a police-chasing-criminals scene or a bombs-exploding-battle scene might not feel as authentic with a bunch of dang it's! and what the heck's! being thrown around. And there is always the choice of whether or not to read/watch it.

In my own writing I refuse to break the (3rd?) commandment. And I refuse to use the harsher words.  It's a fact of life that some people use profanity, and therefore some characters do too. Sometimes I've used a simple "he swore" to show this in writing. But how effective was the line in Gone with the Wind when Rhett Butler says, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn," because the word had never been used until that point? In any film for that matter!

My books are mostly profanity-free. And while I've been undergoing my final edit (yay!) of In Her Dreams, out of curiosity I searched for the two words my characters have used. So as a disclaimer, in the entire 67,000 words that make up the novel, there are exactly 3 damn(it)s and exactly 2 hells. 

And one of the characters does apologize. (insert winking emoticon)