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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jen's Writing Tip# 9 How Exciting!

We all know great things happen in our stories and articles. We want our readers to pick up on it. Chances are, if they're following the story, they will pick up on the excitement.

As authors, we are tempted to put in expressive punctuation to emphasize our point. The most over used punctuation mark? The exclamation point. We use exclamation point to show excitement. Something out of the ordinary is happening. Or something wonderful, or scary. It is fine to use these powerful helpers sparingly. In fact, when used in moderation, it can make that line perfect.

However, we should be careful not to over use them. If you have a simple statement like, "Go find the dog," you should end that with a period. Could you imagine your sister or brother saying to you, "Go find the dog!" I have this vision of someone standing in front of me yelling loudly. Do we do that when we talk to each other ?

So how often should you use them? My advice would be one or two per manuscript, depending on the length. For anywhere between 500- 1000 words use one - maybe. Remember, you want that punctuation mark to do its job - show excitement. How exciting can something be if every other sentence ends with an exclamation point?

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