Let’s Talk Tuesday: !

I’m sure that many of you have read the blog post that went around about how you can be sued for using pictures from Google, even if you give credit to its owner. (For those of you who haven’t read it, it can be found here.) Therefore, I have decided to discontinue Tuesday Transparency, and delete the two posts about it, just in case.  However, yet again Kristen Lamb has saved the day by creating a Flickr account for people to upload any pictures they own to be used to free! Cool, right? Check it out here.

Now, on to Let’s Talk Tuesday. I’ve created this so that every Tuesday we can have a discussion about a certain writing topic. Generally, I will try to make it about a very questionable topic, or a rule that is in the gray area of writing. Make sense? Cool. Let’s talk.

The Exclamation Point!

I feel like this is can be a somewhat dreaded punctuation mark.

From Websters Dictionary: Exclamation: 1: a sharp or sudden utterance. 2: vehement expression of protest or complaint.

So, whenever there’s excitement, rage, or any combination of the two, you just throw it in to tell the reader “Yeah, this guy is pumped, or angry.” Not so much. Now, it’s considered bad writing to use too many exclamation points. Now writers are supposed to convey the anger or excitement through their writing. The reader should just know that the character is excited or angry. I suppose that makes sense in that it will make us all better writers. Instead of using the symbol to show it, we now are supposed to use words and flowing language. Fair enough.

I’ve seen books that have used three or more exclamation points on one page. Seems like a bit of overkill. I can understand using one or two every few pages. But your exclamation points should never outweigh your periods and commas; no matter how intense your book may be.

What do you think about the use of exclamation points? Do you use them? Love them? Hate Them?


6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Tuesday: !

  1. This reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine dumped a guy for not using an exclamation point after leaving her a written message that her friend had had a baby. Absolutely hilarious!
    I really have to edit my exclamation points, I do go overboard sometimes and it makes me look super excited all the time.

  2. I tend to use the exclamation point sparingly. Often it seems that my use fits in with the definition provided above. There are times that I skip it, writing the action/emotion instead. Other times for brevity’s sake I drop it in, BAM! Just like that 😉

    Philosophically speaking though why is it viewed in such negative light? Isn’t the point of having punctuation to denote tone/cadance in writing (which by default is a toneless/stateless medium of communication.) Given that people are yelling “less is more” and word count requirements that border on emaciated why shouldn’t we use *PROPER* punctuation to save some words that could be put to better use.

  3. What?!! I think in written conversation (like this comment or when texting my kids), exclamation points are useful to convey meaning in a few words. In fiction, less exclamation point is better.

    I’m feeling lucky I’m too lazy to search for pictures to post on my blog. I only had a few to delete.

  4. Thanks for the Flickr link. I take a lot of pictures and am willing to share. As for exclamations points, I learned to limit them but I seem to have a fetish for elipses…but then some of us do tend to pause or hesitate when speaking 🙂

  5. I’m a fan of the exclamation mark … as long as it keeps in its rightful place. I only use it in dialogue, and only then when the character is really surprised/angry/excited. It drives me crazy when I’m reading just normal prose, with no dialogue whatsoever, and a sentence ends in an exclamation point.

  6. I totally understand why “they” don’t want us using so many exclamation points. Sometimes they are necessary, but I do agree that it should be shown through the writing rather than through the punctuation. With that being said, I’m terrible at this. I use exclamation points all the time in regular conversations (FB, IM, textig, etc.) and it often leaks into my writing. It’s something I’m definitely trying to work on.

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