Don’t Use Too Many Exclamations Points---Write Naturally!!!
I love to write. It can be a more powerful tool then the spoken word.
Ideas shared by writing tend to be more clearly presented and more well thought out then the off-the-cuff remarks made in daily conversation. Yet, I have heard the advice, “ write how you talk.” Well, this is to be taken with a grain of salt, or there would be too many um, well, err, distractions. And, although you should not drastically change your vocabulary in order to impress, you have more time to come up with a word that more clearly expresses your idea, and you should take full advantage, for the sake of clarity and brevity. Maybe the better advice would be, “to write naturally.” Yeah, I like that “write naturally!”
If you were to meet me in real life, I think you would find me to be an emphatic person. I get an idea, and express it not just with words but also with my body. My eyebrows raise, my voice raises, my hands dance, I get excited, I smile, my eyes well-up and sometimes I shake with emotion. Not having the physicality of talking is one of the more difficult aspects of writing, especially for me. I am a rare case of someone that enjoys public speaking, especially if it is something that I wrote, giving me the opportunity to act out my own words. But this opportunity doesn’t come often, and as writers, we have to learn that the only emotional cues given to the reader, is through written words and punctuation. All we are given are commas, quotes and exclamation points to manipulate our readers reactions to our words.
When I first started to write I would use way too many exclamation points. Which is a problem because they loose their effect quickly if used too often. If you want to show emotion you have to evoke it with real content. Not just exclamations points!
I still find myself over-using them, I cant stop! So in order to control my overuse of the exclamation, I have made a very conscious effort to eliminate them almost entirely. I find that they try to sneak there way into almost all my writing, text messages and short emails are particularly vulnerable. Yep, I just reviewed my phone and almost every text has an exclamation. I need to go to exclamation rehab.
If any of you other writers out there have a trick or advice for me, on how to evoke emotion with words and punctuation without exclamations, please. lead us, me, to the light. I am a very emphatic dude who finds writing a little bit frustrating in it’s limitations.
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