I was reading this thread, but it didn't quite the answer a question I had about creative writing and whether profanity should be used or not, in a way that is best for creative storytelling.
Here's what I mean:
James swore under his breath, his hands rummaging through the suitcase - where was the USB drive?
Here, the reader is allowed to imagine what the character might be saying. For the last twenty chapters, you've made your own image of 'James', and you might think he'd say things differently to how someone else might.
"Shit!" James cursed, his hands rummaging through the suitcase - where was the USB drive?
Here, I've used the actual curse. Sure, there might be a bit of shock value (and we could scale up the profanity if we need to), but the reader is being told exactly what type of profanity James is using.
I know that books and movies are fundamentally different, but movies having been using the Precision F-Strike for years, to deliver impact just to escape an unfavorable rating. Books don't have ratings, but some might argue about 'target audience'.
For the sake of this argument, let's say that the target audience doesn't mind a bit of swearing (they're not children), but they're not oil-rig workers either.
So, my main questions is: Is it better to use actual swearing, or use 'creative' methods like above?
As a side note, should profanity in conversation be included?
"I've had enough of your bullshit," Andrew snarled, throwing down his badge onto the desk.