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I was told I should use more exclamation points. : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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DrG2
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I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby DrG2 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:53 pm

I posted a story on another site, and the reviewer suggested I needed to use more exclamation points. She said it wasn't believable without exclamation points on most of the lines of dialogue.

I referred her to Elmore Leonard's suggestion of 2-3 exclamation points per 100,000 words.

Some lovely folks give very helpful comments, but sometimes I wonder why I post things in online workshops.

TerryRodgers
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby TerryRodgers » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:37 am


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updog
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby updog » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:44 am

That's why I don't post my writing on critique forums.
"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



TerryRodgers
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby TerryRodgers » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:18 am

Somehow this must be the teachers fault. Although I haven't been writing novels all my life, I've never felt compelled to use an exclamation point. It didn't even matter that I started hearing about not using it, I just never thought it was necessary. Am I alone in this or do people not use it because they were told in a forum such as this?

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DrG2
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby DrG2 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:31 am

I never used them much, and then only for true exclamations (few words). I use them less now.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:53 pm

Pick three writers you really like. Read a novel from each and count the exclamation marks.

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DrG2
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby DrG2 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:16 pm


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LMGilbert
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby LMGilbert » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:03 am

Teenagers might like to see a lot of exclamation marks. Here's another tip: when you want to sound really authoritative and like the last word on anything, put a period behind each word of what would otherwise be a sentence, and perhaps finalize with an exclamation point, if appropriate. As in:
Get. Out. Of. The. Bathroom. Now!

This is also a useful technique for bring William Shatner to life on the page.

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shadowwalker
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby shadowwalker » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:03 am

All critiques have two options - follow them, don't follow them. It's always up to the author to decide which one to take.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

TerryRodgers
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Re: I was told I should use more exclamation points.

Postby TerryRodgers » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:00 am


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