grammar and spelling / writers resources / writers tips

Writer’s Tip #29: No Exclamation Points! Please!

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: No exclamation points!
Few published novels use exclamation points. It seems like they should, doesn’t it? We-all exclaim a lot in life and drama seems to require heightened emotion.

No. Don’t fall for it. Google this if you don’t believe me (which, I didn’t the first time I ran across it). If you use exclamation points, you look like an amateur.

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog,Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. In her free time, she is  editor of a K-6 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculum, creator of two technology training books for middle school and six ebooks on technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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9 thoughts on “Writer’s Tip #29: No Exclamation Points! Please!

  1. Oh, No! that’s exactly what I do in my writing! In fact I’ve a fascination for using exclamation marks frequently. I thought it expressed my emotion more than I could bring out in my writing. What a daft! [not again!]. Lesson learnt, thank you Jacqui. [Hope you are back to your base]. Arun

    • I’m so sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you must leave them behind, rely instead on facial expressions, reactions of bystanders, body movements, that sort. Once you get used to it, you will be a better writer for it.

  2. I have read this many time and completely agree. You should let your words evoke the emotions not the punctuation. However I would like a little clarity. Does this apply to dialogue as well?
    By the way, I absolutely love your blog. It has helped me with my writing so much.

  3. I try so hard in my writing to leave out the exclamation points unless it’s absolutely necessary – I don’t like reading novels with a lot of these because I feel as if the author is yelling at me ;)

    • I review a lot of books for Amazon as a Vine Voice and remember one new author that used so many exclamation points, I think I even mentioned it in my review. It made him sound amateurish, though otherwise, he was a pretty good writer.

  4. Pingback: Writers Tips #102: 10 Tips from the Careful Writer | WordDreams...

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