I’m not a fan of profanities.
I don’t think YA books need profanities, unless it’s that kind of YA book. I get it if the main character is a borderline drug addict that sleeps around and comes from a broken home. Contemporary stories like that have an added amount of profane language to them to make them real. Without it, they seem . . . sketchy.
Science Fiction, Fantasy, and even your run of the mill Paranormal Romance though? Unless it’s mixed with that ghetto Contemporary style, should contain no profanities.
Sure, be creative. I’ve often used “wretch!” instead of a swear word, but then my series currently takes place circa 7000BCE and I don’t think the F bomb was around back then.
Of course, if you’re going to be creatively swearing your book, try not to make it a crutch word. Don’t be frexing, effing and fraxing all the way to the end, it just mucks up the book so much that people don’t want to read from one frex to the next.
To add to that thought, if you’re going to make up a swear word, make sure it’s not insanely close to a Battlestar Galactic reference. I’ve met Dirk Benedict, and he says frak just as much now as he did in the ’78 season of Battlestar Galactica. You know, back when he was playing Starbuck.
Also, if you’re trying to clean it up for the sake of the parents of the kids who will buy and read your books, don’t bother. I love Jeri Smith-Ready for this, she just says it the way it is in her books and she doesn’t give a fuck what comes out.
There, I’ve used the f bomb, happy?
It’s not really “cleaner” to go around using “effing” partially because last I checked, the urban dictionary was just a spoof on the real dictionary. “Effing” isn’t exactly grammatically correct.
*sigh* ultimately, as a writer it’s up to you, whether to throw in the cuss words or not, but please, do it for the right reasons. Do it because it wouldn’t be your character or your story without the cuss words. Do it because the story wouldn’t be the same without them.
Don’t do it just to seem cool, because I can tell you one thing, nobody is going to think it’s cool.