Let's face it, I like edgy writing that borders on inflammatory. I read less for entertainment than I do for expanding my world view. I don't have to agree with the points or even like the style of writing as long as it is well articulated. Current fiction seems more focused on commercial success than it does on promoting dialogue or discourse with those having opposing views. http://thehofstrachronicle.com/provocative-writer-redefines-role-of-novelistbr/
I have started on my next novel that explores mental illnesses in the not too distant future. The cast includes sociopathic gang members, a detective with Asperger who is investigating the murders of psychiatrists and a cast of societal malcontents. The premise is a 'cure' is attempted on a psychopath who although innocent, had a high potential for committing future crimes. The cure initially manages to replace his core personality with a more 'normalized' one, but a traumatic event results in the creation of a dissociative identity, the first an artificial one and the second the original psychopath who now seeks revenge against those who tried to obliterate his mind.
The real problem comes when describing outcast members using realistic terms. People living in ghettos are apt to use politically incorrect dialogue. I have one in particular that I think is accurate but also may be seen as inflammatory, even though the character is a positive example. I have a scene where the witness to a crime is a transgender prostitute named 'Johnny'. Even using a transgender prostitute is edgy but having others call her a 'Tranny Hooker' although accurate in ghetto talk may strike many as offensive, even though the character loves that her appearance initially confuses the detective when he asks to speak to 'her' companion. The hooker laughs and explains he is 'Johnny' and the detective may use the pronoun 'he' if it makes him uncomfortable. http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/05/30/is_tranny_a_slur_or_an_identity_who_decides.html
As I said, I am a provocateur and love writing that makes one question society 'norms'. There are many great historical writers who would surely be banned today simply for using descriptive words of their era. Are there words too provocative for use in the current politically correct fiction markets?
Update: I decided with all the attention about using the most offensive profane word in the English Language that it is time to add a link showing its origins and laugh at those who think they are shock jocks for using such a slur. Yes, even Chaucer used the word 'cunt'. So, if you wish to trace its naughty origins, here are a couple of links. history origin
Some authors avoid the use of profanity so much, they have whole blogs dedicated why they do not use four-letter words in their writing.
*I wasn't raised to talk that way, so I don't write that way.* http://www.markhenshaw.com/random-thoughts/2014/6/19/why-theres-no-profanity-in-red-cell-or-cold-shot
So, is it really offensive to use such a word in a novel if that word has been in common usage for centuries?