Naughty words in a godless world
Imagine you're writing a story that takes place in a world that has no God, or gods, or saints. What do you do with exclamations like "Oh gosh!" (derived from "Oh God") or "Jeez!" (derived from "Jesus!")? And - oh god - what do you do with curses and swear words? If your characters can't say "Oh my god", "hell no", or "damn" because there are no gods to damn anyone to hell... what are your options?
Here is a list for inspiration
In general, non-religious curse and swear words refer to local cultural taboos.
Many languages swear by referring to cleanliness: dirty, sweaty, sticky, smelly etc. This includes things you do on the toilet.
Some languages, like Dutch, use diseases as curses and insults. For example, someone nasty/bothersome might be called a "cancer sufferer" in Dutch. These swear words are combinations of (derivates of) typhus, cholera, and cancer.
Societal hierarchy and family trees, mainly the inferior positions like a bastard (seen as inferior in the family tree) or a derogatory word that refers to lower class people (seen as inferior in that society).
On the other hand, you could insult a highly valued member of the other person's family, like their mother, or of their society, like their Queen/Emperor.
Sexual taboos, often implying someone (or their mother) is more sexually active than society accepts of them.
Calling someone the word for someone's genitalia refers to the same taboo.
How do you apply this to your language?
You could use explicit/taboo words as ... :
... an intensifier: "It was a shit-hot day."
... a negative adjective: "This is a shitty job."
... an insulting noun: "This journey is shit."
Or try to be creative and combine different taboos for a multi-hit offense. My favorite one is the Spanish "I shit in your mother's milk", which combines insulting the other person's mother, the taboo of bodily functions, and the taboo of cleanliness.
During my research I came across this article, which contains a number of concrete examples from all over the world you can draw inspiration from.
And on a less offensive note, you could always make up your own equivalent of "Merlin's beard!", "Great Scott!", or "For Pete's sake!" (Pete, by the way, is a catholic reference: Pete is Saint Peter.)
I hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, and happy writing!
Follow me for more writing advice, or check out my other writing tips here. New topics to write advice about are also always appreciated.
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And if you come up with creative curses, feel free to add them in the comments :)
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“everything to somebody else” ; j.p / r.l
remus lupin x reader
summary: after james, you found out that you could be enough but just to someone else.
warning: cursing, fighting, crying
a/n: okay so first of all sorry for all the angst before, secondly, a big thank you to @queen-asteria04 for all her help in writing this and also a special mention to @dylwrites because this was inspired by their comment to the previous fic and now this is a remus fic (?), anyways i hope you like it! <3
you were walking with no direction now, your feet seemed to have a life of their own, carrying you as far away from james’s dorm as they possibly could. you had walked down the stairs and passed the gryffindor common room where you ignored lily’s screams and pleads as she tried to explain herself. you ignored the concerned looks of students and faculty as you walked through the halls of hogwarts, tears spilling out of your eyes but not an emotion insight.
you walked and walked until you felt yourself crash against something or rather somebody else.
“y/n?” you heard a familiar voice say “are you okay? are you hurt?”
you looked up to see the one and only remus lupin in front of you, his hands clutched to your arms as he steadied you.
you opened your mouth but you were scared that your voice would betray you so you just shook your head yes, trying your best to stop the traitorous tears in your eyes from spilling.
remus crouched down so that he could be at eye level with you, cupping your cheeks with his hands, forcing you to look at him.
“talk to me love” he said
you tried your best to reply, finally letting out a choked “remus” as all of the build-up tension and emotions just spilled out uncontrollably as you began to sob. remus instinctively pulled you closer to him, holding you tightly in a hug as you threw your arms around him, hugging him just as tightly as you sobbed into his jumper.
“it’s okay, just let it all out” remus said softly as he soothingly rubbed circles on your back.
soon enough, you stopped crying, pulling away from him as you wiped your tears with your sleeve.
“sorry about that” you said trying to regain your composure and brush the whole thing off “dunno what came over me”
you slid down the nearest wall, resting your head against it as you sat down on the floor. remus quietly sat down beside you, waiting for a while before he spoke.
“y/n, i love you, but we both know that that is bullshit,” remus said softly but sternly “now, how about you tell me what’s got you crying in the hallways?”
you chuckled slightly, sighing in defeat as you knew you couldn’t lie your way out of this.
“james cheated on me with lily” you mumbled trying to avoid another breakdown “so i broke up with him”
you looked to your side, seeing as remus closed his eyes and rested his head against the wall muttering something along the lines of “bloody bastard” and “i’m going to kill him”. he then sighed, putting his anger aside and turning to look at you with compassionate eyes.
“im sorry y/n, for what it’s worth, james has proven to truly be one blind bastard because if he can’t see how absolutely amazing you are then he is blind, insane and truly doesn’t deserve you”
you smiled at his words, leaning toward him so that your head rested on his shoulder.
“thanks remu” you said “and sorry about the crying, i probably ruined your jumper”
“‘s fine” he said as he hugged you with one arm, pulling you closer to him “nothing that a quick cleaning spell can’t fix”
after a while of just basking in the silence and company of each other, remus stood up, extending his hand to help you up.
“now come on, you are not about to miss dinner because of some bloody bastard”
your face paled in the realization that you would have to see them both, james and lily, in the great hall.
“i don’t know remus, i don’t think i can face them” you said meekly as you stood up.
remus sighed in a mix of annoyance and frustration but his emotions were always hard to decipher so who knew.
“well then, you are still not missing dinner because of them” he said as he began walking.
“where are we going?” you asked him, struggling to follow his long and quick steps.
“to the kitchens, of course, we can avoid them for a while there and get the best hot cocoa you will ever have” remus said, trying his best to cheer you up.
you chucked at the lycanthropes words smiling as you laced your arm around his, feeling comforted by his pacifying touch.
“promise?” you asked.
“promise” he smirked.
the next few weeks consisted of meals at the kitchens with remus and sneaking around the castle through secret passageways and tunnels, always somehow ending up in a secret corner of the library where remus would read to your heart's content.
soon, however, you realized that you would have to face james and lily someday and you decided that today was as good a day as any. you turned to look at remus who you were sitting against as he read a book.
“remus?” you asked softly
“yes love?” he said quietly, not putting his book down.
“do you think maybe we could go have dinner at the great hall today?” you asked meekly
that sentence effectively made him put his book down before he spoke, “sure, but are you sure you are okay with that?” he said raising his eyebrows slightly in worry
“yeah ‘s fine, i have to face them eventually plus i think i'm over the whole thing now”
he placed a chaste kiss on your forehead before saying “i'm glad to hear that love, whatever you think is best”
that night as you entered the great you could feel all eyes on you. no one had seen you or remus for weeks and gossip and rumors had begun to spread around the castle.
“y/n!” james screamed in shock as he saw you sit down at the gryffindor table.
at the scream of your name, a guilty-looking lily looked up from her plate too.
“hi everyone” you said softly smiling as you waved at sirius and marlene who were sitting in front of you.
“it’s good to have you back love” sirius said with his usual grin.
you smiled back at him, basking in the peace of it all as you reached for a few treacle tarts asking remus to pass you the biscuits.
james sat there, mouth wide open watching as you and remus practically glided around each other. over the past few weeks, you had grown so accustomed to each other that you had learned how to interact so gracefully and naturally with each other that it seemed as if you were one.
“you whore” james suddenly scoffed.
at that comment, all of the gryffindor table looked at james and you in shock. you choked on your tea which caused remus to slightly pat you on the back in an attempt to help.
“for merlin’s sake, really y/n? my best mate?” james said as he stood up.
“what the fuck are you talking about james?” you asked, shocked and confused.
“that!” james said as he pointed frantically between remus and you.
“i get that you are mad but shagging my best mate! really?!” james sneered“i knew you were a slut but i didn't know that you would go this low”
you gasped (and so did everyone else), at this point not caring if the entire school heard you or not.
“how dare you james” you screamed at him “you have no bloody right to be mad at me, you cheated on me! you are the one who broke my heart! you don’t get to judge who i decide to move on with or when or how!”
james scoffed, rolling his eyes which made you stand up as well and slap him right across the face.
“you are a self-centered arrogant cowardly asshole and if you ever, ever dare to speak to me like that again you will never bloody speak again” you said with an eerie coolness.
james swallowed in shock yet acceptance that yet again he had fucked up.
you swiftly made your way out of the great hall as you heard the clamoring of students and the inevitable gossip begin.
you walked and walked until you made it to a place where you knew you could be alone and okay for a while, the room of requirements.
upon entering the room, you found a cozy little room with soft warm lighting and a big fluffy bed.
you laid down on the bed, snuggling in between the sheets, thanking merlin for having the room of requirement.
“y/n?” asked a very disheveled-looking remus.
“hiya remus” you said with a soft smile as you sat down on the bed.
remus quickly ran over to you, crouching next to the bed.
“are you okay love?” remus asked softly.
“‘m fine remus, don't worry about me i’m seriously fine,” you said as you patted a spot on the bed, right next to you “now how about you sit down, you look like you've ran around the entire castle”
remus sat down next to you, letting out a soft chuckle at your words.
“that’s because i might as bloody well have love” he said “i looked everywhere for you”
“you did?” you said peering to look up at him “why?”
“because i was worried love, i couldn't find you and after you walked out and i kicked james’s arse and i was so worried love” he finally let in one big sigh.
“you what?!” you said shocked
“well he was being an alright dick and someone needed to make it clear,” he said quite matter of factly “not that you didn't, but a reminder is always good”
“oh merlin, remus!” you said giggling as you threw yourself back to the bed so that you were now laying “you really shouldn't have bothered”
“i wanted to love, it's not like anyone forced me to” he said as he laid down beside you
“but why?” you said
“god y/n for someone so smart you are quite thick now” he said “because i like you okay? bloody hell maybe i love you! but what’s the case you would never be with some-”
and with that you cut off remus with a kiss, a soft and tender kiss filled with love and affection.
“i love you too” you murmured with a smile as you pulled away.
“well that's really bloody great” remus murmured grinning before pulling you on top of him and back into a kiss.
maybe you were not enough to james because you were never meant to be. you were meant to be everything to somebody else, and now you were.
taglist for part 2: @tamascarian, @barbiemad, @all-things-harry
taglist: @just-a-smol-spoon , @queen-asteria04 , @weaselbrownie , @wrathspoet , @leah-johnsonn , @mummy-milkers-pls, @ughgclden @misty--quigley, @kelliemorse