This seems odd to me. To be honest, it’s almost exactly the opposite of my own personal boundaries in entertainment. I’m less bothered by an unnecessary swear word than by gratuitous gore or skin. I’ll admit that I’m a bit more liberal with the profanity in real life than I ought to be (probably because I was always “one of the guys” in high school and college and my male friends didn’t bother censoring themselves around me), but I had no idea this was such a big deal for some people, at least not as relative to other content issues.
I’m concerned because while my story has fairly little physical violence and only a bit of innuendo in the sex department, the characters do curse, some of them frequently. The words employed are the milder ones, the ones that you can say with a PG-13 rating (the place of eternal torment and the means of getting there, scatological terms), as well as several things that I don’t personally consider cuss words, but that I know are deemed offensive language by some (son of unmarried parents, euphemisms for the sex act besides the F-bomb, frustrated appeals to the deity). Often the speakers are the heroes… the Christian ones are less casually profane, but still curse under stress. I’ve thought about this, and while I could go back and clean up the language a little bit, I think it would hurt the story and be untrue to the characters to completely sanitize it. One character in particular (very much NOT a Christian, but still a good guy) has a rather coarse mouth, and I just can’t see restricting him to a granny-safe vocabulary without making him not be who he is. But if the language is going to drive away the audience… well, is it worth slaving over to even write the thing?
So, what do you guys think? Is profanity in entertainment a deal-breaker for you? If you think it's a bigger issue than sex or violence, can you explain why? Is this really that significant an issue for the geeky breed of Christian? Should I write the story as comes naturally, and just accept that it may not have much of an audience? How do you deal with this sort of thing in your own creative endeavors?