Exclamation Points!!! Avoid or Embrace?!

I love using exclamation points! Don’t you? How about interrobang sentences?! Finally, I think we should bring those back, don’t you?! And not just in dialogue, but in narrative! Finally, shouldn’t readers just really ought to be able to keep up with run-on sentences, no matter how complex, or whether or not they stay on topic, and I wonder how many people could diagram a sentence that’s simple, not to mention complex or run-on, but do they even teach diagramming sentences in school today, because they just really need to because students will learn the parts of speech if they are really taught how to diagram a sentence!

Sometimes I type like I talk, so of course all of my manuscripts are fascinating! Take the word just! I use it a lot in speech so what’s wrong with using it even more in writing?! Just is a really lovely word that just moves the conversation forward in just the right manner, doesn’t it really?! Really is just another great word that is just really underappreciated and really just should be used more often! The word really really puts an emphasis on any word that comes after it, so we just really need finally to start a movement to encourage greater use of this neglected word!

Finally, I just really need to talk about adverbs! Of course, once a writer has mastered the art of using the word really, the use of other adverbs may seem inconsequential! Sometimes many adverbs can be combined to great effect! The squirrel didn’t just run, but the squirrel really ran quickly! Notice the nuance of really here. The squirrel didn’t just run, but really ran! And quickly!

Finally, remember typing class?! Did you type the pangram, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog?”

Why stop there, with a sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet, when you can enhance your writing with, “Finally, the quick brown fox with a shiny coat just really jumps frantically over the lazy but lovely white Maltese dog who badly needs grooming but her totally deadbeat owner consistently runs out of money and has limited grooming skills and what’s a quick brown fox doing jumping over a dog, anyway; is this happening in someone’s back yard, or did the owner take the Maltese on a hike in a local national park or what?! I mean, does this scenario sound true to life at all?!

Notice what a great improvement has been made to the sentence! Now, not only can you practice typing, but the sentence begs the reader to ponder the situation with the animals and owner, plus the wonders of nature! Believe me, this expanded scenario gives the creative writer enough information to write an entire novel! Or a nonfiction tome on meditation!

And finally, please be advised that as a writer, I, Tamela Hancock Murray, have never ever, ever used too many exclamation points, too many adverbs, too many instances of really, or just, or finally! Seriously! Well, okay, if I did, I went back through the manuscript and took 90% of them out. Editors everywhere have thanked me.

Your turn:

Do you have a favorite excess word that pops into your writing?

How about punctuation?!

What are some tips you can offer that can help writers identify and delete excess words and breathless punctuation?

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