As a historical fiction author, I haven’t had to worry too much about using swear words in my writing.  If a character peppers his speech with an occasional “damn” or “hell” in a 19th century setting,  that was plenty of cursing for the context, and shocking besides.
“Now what the devil does that mean?” asked Mr. Duesler.
“Bill, your language!” whispered his wife.
When writing my “Tesla-punk” manuscript (set in 1908), I invented my own curses. The apprentices in Tesla’s research lab take the names of scientists in vain with expletives like:
·         Bell’s Balls
·         Great Bob Fulton’s Left Nut
·         Well, I’ll be Darwin’s Monkey Uncle
·         Aristotle’s Great Hairy Ass
·         Giordano Bruno on a Toasting Fork  (look him up)
I’m not sure if those expletives will survive to the final version, or whether they will be deemed too corny to live. But I had fun writing them, so they served their purpose.
But now I’m working on a story with a contemporary setting, and for the first time I have to decide where I draw the line in cursing. Believe me, I’ve heard plenty of real teens, so I know how they fling the F-word around.  I don’t want to use that one, however, and even when I used the SH-word, I was uncomfortable and took it out.
However, I’m pretty sure the character I wrote about on Friday wouldn’t holler “Aristotle’s Great Hairy Ass!” when things don’t go his way.
For all you writers out there – how do you handle swearing? Where do you draw the line?