I have a character who has been under stress, both at home and at work. His business is struggling and he was negotiating a complex contract and had the complication of members of the families of the parties involved being attacked, including his wife.

His wife asks him to hire better security, which he does.

She was hospitalized several times over a period of time and doctors suspected and reported probable spousal abuse.

The security team captured the thug attacking people, so she is now safe.

Her brother is visiting, she learns that he believed her to be a victim of spousal abuse and in need of rescue. He apologized and the security team realize he has motive and means to hire an assassin, which would complicate their job considerably.

I want the passage to reflect the thoughts of the husband, going from hurt shock that any would think he would hurt her to a savage willingness to destroy any who might dare harm her.

I have him think the F word, but am unsure if it is realistic and appropriate to the situation. Is it apt for the situation?

Sentence follows:

He had been shocked by the idea of anyone thinking him capable of abusing his beloved. If someone so much as raised a hand to Alia he would - oh f***** hell! He’d be willing to murder any bastard who dared harm her and FH loved her deeply as well.


1 Answer 1


There are at least two angles to this that I would consider important:

On the one hand you have a pure character argument, i.e. is he a character who would use said language in an internal dialogue or aloud?

On the other hand there are publishing considerations, depending on the intended audience etc... crass language may limit your options going forward. This can take two forms, you may not be taken seriously because you use such language and publishers may feel your work is inappropriate for their target audience.

I've had the privilege of getting writing advice directly from several of my favourite authors, all of them gave the same basic advice:

"Write what you want to write, how you want to write it, or don't bother; argue with your editor when you get that far."

While you are drafting work it is more important for you as the author to understand what's going on than to worry about how it comes across to your potential audience. Once you are satisfied with your work pay careful attention to the feedback of your beta-reader(s), especially any around points of particular concern.

  • 2
    While he would never use it if his wife could overhear him - her good opinion of him is paramount - the intense stress he feels at that moment certainly could have him think it.
    – Rasdashan
    Sep 25, 2018 at 19:30

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